Take it and Run Thursday topic: Running injuries and treatment. OK, Runners' Lounge, I'll give you what I've got!
If you've read this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I have a nagging, painful injury: a bunion on the big toe of my right foot. That one is chronic. Chronic, annoying and, after stopping the yoga, not getting much worse. But not getting better, either. There is little I can do (aside from avoiding high heels and using my yoga toes) while waiting for my appointment with the podiatrist but when I finally do get in to see that Magic Foot Doctor, and he magically takes away all my pain, I'll be sure to share whatever I learn.
Until then, what do I have for you? Well, you may recall that I've had several other minor running injuries that, unlike the bunion, have come and gone in a flash. If, that is, you consider a day or two a flash, which, when referring to running injuries, I do. Yes, aside from a twisted ankle last fall (which was a shopping, not running, injury) none of the injuries have kept me from running for long.
I believe that I owe my (mostly) injury-free running to the following:
- Rolling -- not stretching -- before a run. This may make some people cringe but, for me, stretching before running just wasn't working. My muscles need to be warmed up before I can stretch so I use The Stickto roll out my out my legs pre-run and save my stretches for afterward.
- Sitting on a tennis ball. OK, the humble tennis ball may just be my favorite running gadget of all. For real. At the first sign of a tight ITB, hip, or hamstring, I'm on the ball. Nothing works better (well, maybe weekly massages would but that's not in the cards . . .)!
- Resting when necessary. What I have found is that rest is often necessary. I rarely run more than three days in a row and never more than four. That's what works for me. My body operates best when I balance quality runs with rest. And when I feel an injury coming on, I'm not afraid to take an extra day (or more) off. I would much rather skip a run or two than a month of running.
- Taking on the hills. Maybe it isn't normal to love hills as much as I do but I swear by them. Hilly routes, hill repeats, hill fartleks -- I love them all. I believe that hills helps improve your form and strength and when you run them for speed, there is much less impact on your legs so the workouts are less taxing on your body. Hills are your friends!