So, firstly, I wanted to make a quick shoutout to the students who recently discovered my blog.
HI STUDENTS. You can stop reading now. I assure you my life is as boring as you imagine it is, and there’s no need for you to stalk me this thoroughly. I mean, come on. Don’t you have something better to be doing? Aren’t there some new snapchat filters you haven’t selfied with yet, or like, some fun new memes on Tumblr to reblog?
Seriously. You go do you. I will keep teaching you. And I will keep writing my boring blog when I’m not teaching you. We cool? Cool.
Okay, so, what I really sat down to write about was the tools and tweaks I’ve discovered in my years of running that have helped me stay injury free. Some of these are super obvious; others are less so. But having survived so many injuries and ailments in my years on the road, I thought I’d share my knowledge so that hopefully you all won’t have to go through what I did!
Tweak #1: Ankle Support- Above is a picture I took just after returning home from the ER after a (shockingly) non-running related injury that ended up impacting my running a whole lot. Last summer, I rolled my ankle when stepping off a curb in the grocery store parking lot and ended up with a severe sprain. I severed at least one ligament, and damaged a few others. I was in a brace for weeks, and learned once I was out of the brace that my ankle would probably always require a little extra attention to remain stable. I wear this Futuro Wrap Around Ankle Support whenever I run, and it keeps everything feeling nice and stable! Ankle sprains are so, so common, and it’s really important to treat them properly.
Tweak #2: Eat More- When I’m not in training for a race, I typically just attend 4-5 group exercise classes at my gym each week and eat pretty low carb, low cal to stay in shape. When I am working out as aggressively as I am now, though, I need to consciously eat more to fuel my body properly. I learned this lesson the hard way when I ate super light through a half marathon training cycle and ended up with a stress fracture + multiple other aches and pains. So while running doesn’t give me license to eat huge portions of pasta and vats of peanut butter on a daily basis, it does make is completely necessary to up my intake of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins throughout the training process.
Tweak #3: KT Taping for Knee Pain– This seriously saved me during my last marathon training cycle. I ordered a roll of KT Tape on a whim and it’s been my constant companion ever since. The sheer number of miles you’ve got to pile on during marathon training can make it so your little aches and pains never fully heal. Taping my knees (and shins, and ankles) during my mid-distance and longer runs helped alleviate pain, which helped me to log the miles I needed. Eventually your knees get used to the pressure, but KT Tape helps when you’re still woking on it!
Tweak #4: Stretching CORRECTLY- Recently I realized I’d been doing the same stretch sequence for almost 10 years. Like, I literally keep going back to the same routine that I did with my college cheerleading team. So I decided to switch it up; I thoughtfully considered where my areas of tightness and pain were, and tried out a variety of yoga-based stretches to loosen things up. I also pulled out an old theraband and started doing more and more band stretching. Figuring out what stretches work for you- and which ones don’t- is super helpful!
Tweak #5: Insoles– I never considered insoles before this fall, especially since I already pay SO MUCH for my running shoes. But when my lower leg started anching a little bit in September, I decided to try out these super affordable Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles that claimed to help with shin splints. AND THEY DID! After I cut these to size and tucked them into my running sneakers, all my calf/shin pain vanished!
Tweak #6: Starting Training EARLY– This is probably my biggest tip. I used to procrastinate on starting training for my half marathons and full marathon, and end up having no choice but to stick exactly to a rigid training plan for the 8-12 weeks leading up to a race. In general, you should be signing up for races far enough ahead of time that you can work through a standard training plan + an extra three or four weeks. By starting early, you have time to take a weekend off if you’re sick or sore, which helps you maintain your overall health in the long run.
Tweak #7: Kick the Coffee– This is a new one for me, and I wrote a lot about it here. I have a pretty sensitive GI system, and too often coffee was throwing it out of whack. I used to need it to wake up and get going in the morning, but then… What I’m saying is this; runners trots are real and you should only consume foods and drinks that agree with your stomach before running. I also feel like I am more committed to sleeping more because I know I don’t have the crutch of coffee to push me through sleep deprivation in the morning. And as we all know more sleep=more healing= fewer injuries.
Those are my top 7 tweaks I’ve made that have helped me overcome some pretty big challenges in my running over the years! I hope a few of these are applicable to you:)
Now You Tell Me…
- Do you have any specific tips or tricks for remaining injury free?
- What’s your stance on coffee?
- Do you have a stretch sequence you usually follow? If so, where’d you find it?!
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