Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is running injury free possible?

What is this...a new blog post??? I think this is officially the longest I've gone without a post. I haven't had much to say lately as I have been bit by the injury bug, hard. What do you write on a running blog when you can't run. One of the most frustrating things I've discovered since declaring myself a runner, has been injuries. Since I started running in February 2013, I have had: shin splints, ITBS, a sprained ankle, pulled hamstring (twice), runners knee, and posterior tibial tendinitis. In case you weren't counting, that's 7 injuries in 3 years! That's 2.3333333333 injuries on average per year! That's insane! Each of these injuries have meant time off. Some injuries healed after 2 weeks, others took as long as  months (posterior tibial tendinitis is a nasty thing), and when it comes to running, consistency is key.

My doctor once told me, that he didn't think I was cut out for running. To be honest, I almost believed him. What was I doing wrong, that other runners seemed to be doing right? Didn't Christopher McDougall have this same problem? Do I need to travel to Mexico to find out how to prevent injuries? Inspired by his book Born to Run (but not in the way you think, no barefoot running for me) In November 2014, I set out on my own journey to discover injury free running.

My first stop Phil Maffetone's MAF Training.

I honestly don't know how I came about hearing about this method, I have a couple posts explaining what exactly MAF Training is. Basically, you take 150 minus your age and either add 5 or deduct an additional 5 depending on your running history. This becomes your MAF heart rate and the goal is to never let your heart rate increase over this amount. I devoured the Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing and started drinking the MAF Kool-aid. It was okay, if you don't mind a lot of slow miles. I did decrease my race times across the board and I wasn't injured at all while keeping with the program. However, it gets really (an I mean really) boring training at a slow pace. Not only that, but it was hard always being so dependent on my heart rate monitor. Running wasn't enjoyable anymore. When my heart rate went up running at a slower pace than last week, I would get frustrated, and my heart rate would go up even more. A dog that I couldn't see behind a fence would bark or a car would honk, scaring me, and cause my heart rate to go up. I was honestly kind of miserable.

My next stop was run less. I thought I was victim of the too much, too soon syndrome. I made sure to run every other day to ensure I was rested, if I felt even a small niggle of pain, I would take a few days off. But, it didn't work, because there was always something flaring up, so I was basically always taking days off.

Some time in between, I developed posterior tibial tendinitis, which is just a fancy way of saying my ankle hurt a lot. I couldn't walk or run without pain. I took about 2 months off started in August of 2015 and it wasn't getting any better, so I went to a physical therapist. She worked on it 3x a week for 2 months and suggested I get orthotics and start foam rolling. Well. the orthotics, caused trouble with my knees, and I do believe foam rolling is helpful, it hasn't been helpful enough. Here I am today with another hamstring strain. This one (unlike my previous hamstring strain) wasn't caused by a sudden stopping movement (I was at a full on sprint and came to a stop in one stride), but rather an overuse injury.

So, where is this long post heading to? Well, it's going to what I hope will be my final stop. Even though I've heard this time and time again, I never really believed this piece of advise. I read online once, that runners who only run will eventually get injured. I had tried adding in cycling, and lifting weights a few times a week for a little bit, but I never saw an improvement in race times, so it took a backseat. Well, here I am revisiting it again. Strength training, is going to be my new best friend for this next training cycle. I discovered this website, Strength Running. Now I am a sucker for infomercials, anything I see on TV I swear I need. This may be another one of those, but maybe not. I signed up for a custom training plan by the owner of Strength Running, Jason Fitzgerald, because he specializes in runners who are constantly getting injured. Included in the training plan is a standard core workout and ITB rehab workout. Both of these, like they sound, are all about developing a strong core (abs, glutes, and hips). The plan he made for me is simple. It tells me exactly when to run, exactly what I do to warm up before each run, exactly how fast to run, and exactly what exercises I need to do post-run. Unfortunately, my hamstring started acting up on day one of the training plan, but I have been seeing a PT who thinks I will make a speedy recovery. I am super excited to see if I have finally discovered how to run injury free. I haven't been able to run for more than 2 months injury free since August of 2014. I really want to see my potential, which will only come with running consistently. Fingers Crossed!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lynsey!
    I found your site when I was checking out BibRave for the first time. I used to be super injury prone so this post caught my eye. A recovery gym is coming to Reno soon that I think you'll love: Also, I am a huge believer that Active Isolated Stretching is the fountain of youth for runners - I've been injury free since I started doing it daily (4 years!). Check out our website ( and my blog posts sometime! I plan to teach some more AIS classes in the future and will definitely advertise it on our site. I hope you've recovered, injuries are the worst! -Kathryn


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