For the last 3.5 years, I have run injury-free….for the most part. Sure, I have had aches and pains and soreness and there have even been times when I limped and hobbled and walking hurt for a day or two, BUT I *think* I have figured out what it takes to keep *me* running relatively injury-free.
Let me be clear here by what I mean when I say injury. To me, an injury is something that takes you away from running (or whatever fitness activity you prescribe to) for a period of time, whether defined or indefinite. It takes a while to heal and during that time, you are not capable of running or if you do, it hurts more than ever. Being sore and achey is different than an injury. An injury doesn’t go away with rest and recovery- it is there nagging and bothering you all day long. An injury can make you limp, hobble, and curse. An injury may bring you to tears. An injury seems to last forever. Got it?
I have only truly been injured ONCE during my 4.5 years of running and it was during my first half marathon training plan. As I am about to start training for my first full marathon, I want to make sure I do all I can to remain injury free. Here’s what I have done so far to remain injury-free, and what I plan to continue to do, in no particular order:
- Strength train. We’ve talked about the importance of strength training several times here and remains true. You must have a strong body and core to run 26.2 miles, with the emphasis on a strong core and strong glutes, hamstrings, calves…..ok, a strong everything!
- Rest and recovery. You have to allow your body proper time to rest and recover, especially as you get father into your training plan.
- Foam roller. Become one with your foam roller as the roller works magic at breaking up the knots that build up in your muscles from all that use.
- Yoga. I love yoga. It keeps me flexible and loosey-goosey instead of tight and stiff.
- Sports chiropractor that practices ART (Active Release Technique). I have a chiro I visit whenever I feel an persistent ache that I think could turn into an injury. She is a runner herself and knows exactly what to do bring me relief.
- Utilizing the run-walk method created by Jeff Galloway. Oh god yes, run-walk is the way to go (for me).
So that’s the plan. The hardest one for me will be rest and recovery as we are a very busy family and there never seems to enough time in the day, but I will have to make the time. You don’t have to be training for a marathon to utilize the items on the list-it’s good for any runner regardless of the distance you’re running!