Guest Post: What A Beginner Runner Has Learned From Injuries
Happy Friday! Today, I am super excited to feature a guest post from Sara from Loving on the Run. She has some great advice when it comes to injuries and with a fresh perspective as a beginner runner… which we all know as the worst thing in the universe. Enjoy!
Hi! My name is Sara and I write over at my blog – Loving On The Run – where I talk about all things running, life, marriage, nutrition, fitness, blogging, and random ramblings. I would love it if you followed me along my journey over at my blog!
Injuries seem to seek me out. Do they seek you out as well? Every since I started running, injuries have haunted me.
One injury after another ranging from a tendinitis to femoral and tibial stress fractures. I learned the hard way.
Injuries are a runner’s nightmare. I never thought I would be that person who got sad about an injury – but I did. I got depressed. I cried. I pouted. But, then I accepted, learned from it and moved on.
As a “newbie” runner – I had the luxury of learning from my sub-elite marathoner husband about running but I was a “newbie” and stubborn…I didn’t listen. He told me take to build up mileage slowly, take it easy, eat right, get good sleep, and the list goes on. But, I didn’t listen and I learned the hard way.
As I progressed as a runner, I learned a lot of hard lessons. I have learned a great deal from my injuries. I am by no means perfect but I want to share with you what I have learned from my injuries that may help you avoid the same downfalls.
Be Patient and Don’t Rush Running
I was slow and I wanted to be fast. I wanted to compare myself to my fast husband. So, I felt like I needed to do more than I should by increasing mileage, intensity and cross-training. Big mistake.
I never was an athlete in high school or college so I didn’t have years of pounding and time on my feet for my body to adjust to exercise. So, naturally rushing into running and exercise in order to be better – I got injured. Don’t let this happen to you.
Staying Healthy is the Key
An injured runner can not train for running…makes sense doesn’t it? Sure, you can maintain fitness cross-training but we all know it is not the same. You can have the greatest training season only to get carried away and get injured before the race and all that training was lost.
Ask yourself everyday what the point of THIS run is? If you can’t answer that question and are just running to run…then don’t run. I found myself some days throwing in doubles just because I had the time…not a good reason. Don’t risk injury just to burn a few more calories or just because you can. Have a reason!
Running Form is Important
My husband always told me running form was important. I heard him but I didn’t fully listen. I neglected form drills he recommended at first and I paid for it. I was a heel-striker and still partly am – though I have improved.
Running form can reduce the impact of forces put on your body and reduce muscle imbalances where you don’t want them. Think about it. If you are heel striking then you are landing out in front of you and more force is being directed into the lower leg which can lead to overuse injuries such as stress fractures.
Do your form drills. They are important. Period.
Intensity > More Mileage (sort of)
High mileage can be super beneficial for some runners. But, you have to do it right. But, intensity on the other hand can get you huge gains on less mileage. If you are time-crunched like me a lot of times – you are much better off upping the intensity and decreasing the miles than trying to just run a ton of miles.
That is not to say more mileage can’t help. But, you must way the balance. If you are trying to get your body use to pounding and be able to handle the higher intensity work then running a bit higher mileage and decreasing intensity can help.
But, intensity in your training will improve your running form and lead to higher gains without as much pounding from high mileage.
Rest Days are Important…Seriously
What are rest days? That was my thought in the beginning. I thought I needed to be working hard everyday. I found out real quick that was wrong. Build in rest days whether that is cross training or complete rest or for some super high mileage runners like my husband…a very low mileage day on soft ground.
Don’t Neglect Strength Work
In the ideal world we could all just run, relax, have great posture, get massages, etc. But, this isn’t a perfect world. We work full-time or part-time, have kids, or are just plain busy.
Strength work is important to build in to help maintain that balance. It is the “web” that interconnects the running with recovery.
For example, if you have weak thigh muscles than other parts of your body like hamstrings and hip muscles are going to compensate for that. This will add extra pressure and force in other parts of your body that you don’t necessarily want. Add in strength work to keep you healthy and your body strong.
Being injured plain stinks! Don’t be like me when it came to some of these points and learn the hard way. It is no fun. I am by no means perfect now and I am always learning but if somebody can prevent themselves from getting injured by hearing me out – then it was worth it!
What have you learned from your injuries?