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I Know This Stuff....So Why Don't I Do It?

When the calendar flipped to the wonderful spring season last week, I was both excited and scared.  Excited because winter if officially over - even if the cold weather is still hanging around.  And scared because I have a bad habit of running myself right into an injury in the first four weeks of spring.

I get so excited about the chance to run in sunlight, in temps above 30' F, and of course Dscn2632 begin training for all my favorite races.   And about this time as I sit down with my training plan, the starved-for-running-crazed-side-me sets out a superhero training plan to get me "on track" for my spring and summer races.   If you are wondering, the starved for running crazed side of me has won 8 of the 12 years I have been running.  I have caused some kind of injury to myself 8 of the 12 years.  I get as crazy as a little kid - I just can't hold myself back. While the rational smart runner in me pleads and begs me to keep it reasonable and in check. Pretty stupid, eh?

So this year, the rational runner in me is trying to break free.  I read and reread Tom's post about injuries.  And in case the logical approach didn't work for me, I tried an emotional argument.  I went back and read my posts from last fall where I desparately tried for 92 days to get over a hip injury.   Surely, I wouldn't want to relive those dark days of no running.

And as added insurance, I read a bunch of articles related to running injury and prevention and checked out the growing resources in the Lounge Know How section (on Injuries).  Here are the tips they all seemed to share:

  • Watch the increase in total mileage in one week.  The common rule of no more than 10% works well as a general guideline.   I list this one first because it is the one I break most often.  Who knew that 8 miles to 25 miles is more than 10%?
  • Curb the urge with cross training.  To get the cardio exercise and lower your risk of injury, supplement your miles with biking, walking, elliptical, tennis, or whatever gets you excited.
  • Stretching and strengthening is good.  Really good.  Staying flexible is a great line of defense against injuries.  Being strong heads off muscle strain.  For stretches, check out this article from Family Doctor, Dr. Pribut's site, or this post from Tom.  Another regularly missed step in my spring running line up. Who has time for this other stuff when I am so busy running myself into an injury?
  • Check your shoe health.  Don't let a miserable run or injury remind you that it is time to trade in those winter kicks for a fresh, happy pair of running shoes.  Time for a little spring cleaning for all the running gear and time to refresh supplies, including socks, socks, hats and sunglasses.
  • If it hurts to run - stop running.  Running through injury only makes an injury worse.   I have rarely seen more running fix a running injury.  Skipping a run to heal or prevent further injury is better than skipping the rest of the season.  Spending more time strengthening and stretching is time better spent than pounding a pavement.
  • Get educated.  Read up on running injuries and know the early symptoms and how to prevent them.   Tom's post yesterday gave a couple great resources for some continuing education for your Running PhD.   Here is a link to a short article summarizing the Top 10 Running Injuries.
  • Manage your risks.  We are have weak spots in our running.  Take stock of your running risks and then put together a plan to manage them.   
  • It's all about the attitude.   If you need a break from running or need to rehab an injury - stay positive.

As I type this, I keep repeating these rules over and over to myself.  It is so much easier said than done.   With only 5 days of spring under my belt - I have already broken 5 of these rules. 


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You sound like me, Amy, except I don't need something silly like "spring" to get me all gung-ho about training.

I know all the rules. I follow them for a while and make a lot of progress. Then I start feeling invincible. Feeling invincible is a VERY dangerous thing! My knee objects strongly.


Wonderful post, Amy. It easy to forget the importance of XT & streching. I loved where you said who has time, I was running myself to injury.


Join the crowd. I think everyone pushes a little too hard at times. One of these times I'll get it through my thick skull.


Hmm, this sounds kind of like me right now. For my big comeback, I have also revisited this fabled 10 percent rule.


Hee hee. We're all guessing which ones you've broken. Doesn't it always hurt when we run? If I had to stop when it hurts, I wouldn't last very long :D (except for that perfect run of 10's -- I'm still on cloud nine.

William carter

Hi Amy

This is such a great post and one that I feel we should all have posted on our refrigerators. The funny thing is that as fairly experienced runners we know all these things. But you are so right when you allude to the fact that we love to run so much that this sometimes overrides the rational side of things... and I know this all too well.

Best of luck with your training and again congrats on your great Tri with Nancy.

Bob Allen

My problem with X-training is that there is nothing I enjoy as much as running. But, I'm with you on the shoes -- I think using worn out shoes contributed to my knee problem in '04 (easier to blame it on shoes than weight and age).

Roman Holiday

Rest & nature will heal thy self.

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