In follow up to the high mileage post, I wanted to post some things I have used to help keep me injury free during high mileage training.
Some people are just lucky and have the biomechanics and body type that don’t get easily injured, others not so much.
My poor husband has had every running injury in the book (Achilles tendonitis, a stress fracture, Haglund’s deformity, and the list goes on), yet I have managed to *knock on wood* stay relatively injury free during my almost 3 years of running. I have dealt with some occasional pains and aches here and there and have had to skip some runs and take a bit of time off, but nothing that was serious enough to keep me from running for a long period of time.
I also take a lot precautions to make sure I am not doing anything stupid to get myself injured.
What are they?
I have to admit, I have not been as good of an icer lately as I have been in the past, maybe it’s a winter thing?
Usually my rule is to ice bucket my lower legs/feet/ankles (those are the areas I typically get aches and pains in, if I feel a pain, I ice it like crazy!) after a hard run and to take a full on ice bath after a long run. It’s been a while since I have done a full ice bath, but I was really good about it when training for CIM and past marathon. I need to get back on it especially when my long runs and miles really pick up!
Stretching & Rolling
I have always been a pretty good stretcher and roller (love the grid foam roller), it’s something I do after almost every run but is something I have been trying to be better at. I always do both when I feel any weird spots and have my target areas I try to work on every day.
In order to become better at this, I have been going into our home gym after runs to spend some time to really stretch out my legs. When I am sitting on the couch I try to remind myself to just get on the floor and roll my legs out for a few minutes… something is always better than nothing!
I always think it’s funny how runners can be so lazy about certain things… waking up at 4am to run intervals? No problem! Getting off the couch to roll out your legs for 5 minutes? Ugg that’s way too much effort. Trust me, I know this from experience.
I have said this before, but recovery runs need to be done slow. Running too fast all the time definitely will lead to injury. I have been much better at this the last couple weeks and have slowed my recovery runs down. If you are going to run a lot of miles on back to back days, some of them need to be slow.
There is no shame in going slower! Enjoy those runs and don’t worry about the pace.
Don’t start from 20-30 miles a week as a base and jump into 50+ miles the next week. The 10% rule is a pretty good standard to follow and I try to watch my mileage increases and stay pretty close to that number.
Now that I have gone through a number of training cycles, I know what my body can handle and have a pretty good grip on how I should feel and what is normal. I was able to make a pretty big jump to start my Boston training, but I also had been running that kind of mileage for over a year.
Typically though, especially if it’s not the "norm" for you, don’t jump your miles by a ton. Being conservative is better than being injured.
My new favorite… Active Release Technique and chiropractic adjustments.
This is something I just discovered during my last training cycle and I had been missing out. ART has really helped with my muscles and alignment and just making me feel good and really helps to work out any problem areas I have in my muscles. It does not feel good during, it has almost made me cry, but after I always feel better.
I also try to get occasional massages to help with all of the above. Thankfully my chiropractor has an awesome massage and my insurance covers it!
I rest on my rest days and make sure I get enough sleep. I don’t take shame in laying on the couch to relax when necessary (although having a 100+ lb lab on top of me might not be the best thing for my legs). Your body recovers while asleep so getting enough is key to keeping yourself healthy.
Put bad things in your body, it will give you bad things in return. Feed your body good fuel and it will give you good results.
I am not a perfect eater, but especially during training I really try to eat well and have worked on cleaning up my diet over the last year. There is always room for improvement and it is still getting better over time, but I can always tell a difference when I eat good foods versus not good ones.
(I have a highly requested food post coming up next week!)
Listen to your body
Your body will tell you things, make sure you listen. If you need an extra rest day, take one. If you need to go slow on a day you are supposed to go fast, go slow. Be nice to your body and it will be nice back.
What steps do you take to avoid injury?
I am off to stretch and roll!