Friday, April 15, 2011

I took a day off from running...

...and went to a running injury prevention class instead.  It was good timing--I've had a really sharp pain in my lower back ever since my run on Tuesday and sometimes it causes a shooting pain down my quad.  I knew something was off, and I was hoping this class (taught by a surgeon and a physical therapist) would help me figure it out and how to fix it.  I'm SO glad I went--It was very informative!  I learned what could be causing the pain, as well as how to stretch and fix it.  Additionally, I also learned some things that I need to do in order to improve my running and reduce my risk of injury.  I think they are important enough to share:

  • Strong Core:  You need to have strong abs in order to keep everything lined up in your body.  Having a strong and balanced core will help greatly in reducing muscles misaligning and causing injuries.  Because of this advice, I will be adding an ab workout to my routine directly after my runs.  
  • Cross Training:  I already knew this one, but I have been ignoring it.  However, its importance was once again conveyed to me last night.  If you do nothing but run, your muscles get used to that movement and get tight and fatigued.  The muscles need to be challenged in other ways so that other muscles in the system don't get neglected, and that all the muscles stretch and grow in a complementary way.  Biking and swimming are excellent choices for cross training.  I'm not much of a swimmer, so I'm going to add in some biking on my days off from running (not mountain biking for a while...I think it'll be a while before I'm crazy enough to risk my girly bits again!).
  • Electrolytes:  Any run that lasts longer than 30 minutes should be supplemented with a beverage with electrolytes in it, not just water.  This is something I haven't been doing--I only bring water on my runs.  Since I sweat a lot (joy!), I rapidly deplete my electrolytes in my system which leads to fatigue.  This may explain why my long runs have been absolutely wretched lately.  Going forward, I will carry water infused with electrolytes on my long runs.
  • Compression Tights:  The person giving us this advice is a 50-mile race runner.  He says that compression tights make all the difference in the world for him when it comes to recovery.  He sleeps in them the night after a race and wakes up without any soreness.  I'm going to have to try this!
  • Stretching:  We all know we should stretch.  You can find many recommended stretches online for runners so I suggest you check that out.  One area where I am NOT flexible (which is causing my back problems) is my hamstring.  They say that you should be able to lie flat on your back, extend your leg so that it is at a 90 degree angle from your body and completely straight.  I can do it, but it is painful.  Time to stretch those hammies even more!
  • Single Leg Squat:  Everyone should do single leg squats.  It tests the balance between all the running muscles and ensures that the hips, quads, calves, and ankles are all working together in harmony.  Start adding this to your routine!
  • Balance:  Stand on one leg with your eyes closed for ten seconds.  If it is difficult, you  need to be continually practicing this move to improve your balance.  If you can manage this test, then add more layers of difficulty such as standing on a pillow on one leg with your eyes closed for ten seconds.  Keep practicing this until it is simple.  Having great balance will prevent those small missteps that tweak our body and cause us injuries.
That was the majority of the information I took home.  I thought it was very helpful, and hope you do as well. All these things will work to help reduce our risk of injury as well as shorten our down time once we have an injury.  

Additionally, I also learned that it is time to get new shoes!  I'll be making that purchase sometime this month. I'll be going to a specialty running store to see if my running gait has changed since the last time I bought shoes and then buy a pair that works with my feet.  I'm excited!

This weekend is also the Salt Lake City Marathon and Half Marathon.  There are no less than EIGHT people from my work running the half marathon.  I'm going to meet up with Running Roommate and go to the finish line to cheer them on.  For most of them, this is the first half marathon they've ever ran.  I can't wait to see how they do!

After (or before maybe) we watch the half marathon finishers, Running Roommate and I will be running 12 miles.  PLEASE send me good vibes that I can do this.  I haven't been able to finish 10 miles yet without a lot of walking and I really really really really want this to go well.  My mantra on Saturday during my run will be "I know I can, I know I can, I know I can..." and I WILL finish it.  

What are your plans for the weekend?


  1. Swimming is great for injury prevention too!

    Sorry you're having some pains. Take it easy.

  2. awesome info...thanks for sharing. I seriously think I need to get some compression tights or at the least the sock ones to solve my calf cramps from he**

  3. Thanks for the info!
    You're gonna rock that 12-miler :)

  4. Very helpful info!
    Have a great run!

  5. Thanks the info. I am just getting into running so all the information I can get it helpful so that I can prevent injuries.

  6. Wow - those are AWESOME, AWESOME tips! Can I share them on my blog tomorrow? Love them!!! :)