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Natural Law: Manage Your Risks

As part of my Human Resources job, I am helping lead a project to change the way we deliver HR Services to our company.  Part of my job is to figure out how to help the HR teams move from point A (today) to point B (future model) as successfully as possible.  I help them spot the potential issues that might occur and find a solution so those "issues" don't become problems.

Let me tell you, it hasn't been easy trying to keep all the teams headed in the right direction.  They all have different issues and are moving at different speeds.  Great_ideaIn a meeting yesterday, I launched into a running analogy to help drive home this point for this group. I explained that this big transition was just like we were all of running a race.  It went something like this... "We will all finish, get there at different times, and in order to finish well, each group has a slightly different set of muscles that we need to build.  We just need to figure out which muscle group is the weakest and how to make it stronger so we don't injure ourselves in the process...." 

And then I trailed off...I had a revelation about my running.  I haven't been managing my own running "risks"!  Sure, I look at how to get to point A to point B with my training plan - but I don't take the time to think about my risks (my hip, my back, my knee...) and then I get injured.   This summer, my subconscience knew that skipping my strength training and stretching would cause my back to hurt, followed by my knee.  But I seemed to selectively forget about these trouble spots until I was in trouble.  And you know as a runner, that is the wrong time to start to think about them.  I violated a Natural Law of Running:

Natural Law:  Manage the "risks" of your running or they will manage you.

If I could go back in time and take a more rational approach, I know that I would have done a core set of strength training and stretches to compliment the running and biking.  And, I would have scheduled "maintenance" appointments with my chiropractor.  I would have been smarter about the training schedule. I would have made time for the nonrunning essentials.  I would plan for the fact that a runner like me can't live on running alone.

But I took a risk... a big risk... ok - a big, stupid risk - instead.  I did complete both the triathlon and the duathlon.  But I paid for it big time!  I took me over three months to return to a semi-normal state of running and that was after ALOT of recovery, doctor's visits and missed miles.   Those risks ended up managing me for 92 days.   That is a long time of being told what to do!

I am finally back into a regular running schedule.  I am going to take the lesson and thow away the experience of the last 92 days. I am going to adapt and improve.  I am going to act on the solutions for each of my risks: 

I am going to strengthen my hip, back and core. 

I am going to stretch my back, hip and knee. 

I am going to return to a better running weight. 

I am not going to "cram" miles.

I am going to manage my running a bit smarter because I am a whole lot wiser.  I will not let my "issues" become problems.  No more injuries, no more pain.   This time, I am going to do it right.

Photo of Oh my gosh! on Flickr by theveryquietroom



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I can't live on running alone? Damn! ;)

I think you are absolutely right often times we don't do the maintenance non-running stuff because we don't like it. (i.e. strength for instance) ...

Good way to look at it.

bill carter

Great post!... and rules for exercising that we should all live by. I know that I don't stretch nearly enough and that all those tight muscles are just waiting to snap. But I am trying to get better and have even purchased a few books on stretching as motivation to be a better, less ticking time bomb injury waiting to happen, runner.
Don't beat yourself up to hard about your injury because we are all sometimes lured by that next race or next run... could all that enthusiasm every really be a bad thing??


You got that right! This is a great post and exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks!


Great post! It reminds me of when I'm at work and want to bring up something about running, yet nobody understands ... but them sometimes I realize I'm not practicing what I'm preaching! To help ease my running mind, I've made running part of my job so no one has to hear about it all day and I can keep things relevant in meetings: http://www.richmond.com/viewpoints/output.aspx?Article_ID=4862654


Oh boy, have I been there! I'm now a faithful stretcher and strength trainer because of it. I had to learn the hard way, too.


Great post, Amy (I got the name right this time)! One week of risk can easily knock us out of the game for months to come (citation: my life).

As a result, though, I'm learning about everything I really need to do to minimize the risk: stretching, cross training, core workouts, moderation, etc. Hopefully I retain everything from this very long lesson.


This is so true! I felt my hamstring nagging me throughout the race on Sunday and my regret was that I didn't do any strength training to prepare myself. Next time I'll know better!


Wow, you sound serious. :D I will try to remember this when I am sloughing on the PT exercises.


Nancy - must be using my work voice. :} But, also I am still too close to the injury thing that everytime I talk about it - I seem to get very focused.


So very true! Funny how often our bodies tell us there are issues, that we choose to ignore and develop into problems. Great Analogy!


Great post, Amy! Like you, I am going to focus on strength training after my marathon to ward off injury (hopefully).

Thanks for your friendship. It's meant a lot throughout this past month of indecision and injury!

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