To non-runners, we all appear alike. We're those crazy people who sacrifice time, sleep, and socialization to run even though we're not being chased. We runners recognize that we're all different though. We run for different reasons, focus on different distances, train at different paces, and- gasp- some of us don't ever race!
I'll be wearing these shoes instead of my Brooks for awhile.
But there's one thing each of us has in common: we hate being injured. So much so that many of us will continue to run through pain. Unfortunately in the running community it's "normal" behavior to change your stride, wear a knee/ shin/ ankle brace, or only run on one side of the road so you don't feel pain while you run. We'll continue to train like this because we have to get to the start line of our next big race. Because, you know, this is the only race ever and our running career will end immediately after it.
Right? No, wrong (well, unless your next big race is the Olympic trials. But really, if you're of that athletic caliber, you're probably not reading my blog).There will always be more races and your running career can last many decades if you respect your body.
We each only get one body, so I'm not sure why we insist on making it run through pain. Worse, then we each get mad at said injured body when it doesn't yield us a PR or allow us to finish a race. Why do we do this?!
For many reasons, I hypothesize. When we're deep in the throes of training, taking time off seems like the worst idea in the world because then all of that prior training was for nothing. There's also the fear that if you take a break from running you'll never, ever get back into shape again. And while most of us wouldn't admit it, we're afraid if we don't run we'll get fat. Then there's the most basic reason: running makes us happy. Without it, we lose a part of ourselves even if we're aware that it's just temporary.
I realize that this post is coming off as preachy. But the only person I'm trying to convince is myself.
As I mentioned the other day, after finishing my last half marathon, the unevenness of the road left me with a sore left hamstring and an angry right knee. Last week, my hamstring hurt so I took it easy. Now, thankfully, it feels fine. But my knee is another story. I thought it was better, but then on Wednesday's run the annoying ache turned into a nasty pain. I think I'm injured.
I'm trying really hard to not run. It doesn't hurt that much, but I don't need a minor injury to turn into something major. So, I'm publicly proclaiming that I won't run. At all. Until I have zero knee pain. Right now, rest (+ ice + foam rolling + PT) is best.
If you don't want to end up like me, here are some ways to sidestep running injuries.