It’s Injury Season
An injury can take you out. Ask any experienced runner. There’s nothing more frustrating than reaching the end of the tunnel with your race in sight and – boom – an injury: you twist an ankle, blow out a knee or pull a hamstring. I’m a huge advocate of “being safe out there” and with good reason. I’m really good at messing myself up.
It doesn’t even have to be running! About 6 or 7 years ago during a light rain my bike flipped resulting in a busted collarbone, several fractured ribs and a puncture lung. That was just a few weeks before a marathon. In another instance, I stepped off the side of the road at night and partially tore ligaments in my ankle. That took me out for what seemed like forever. With aspirations of becoming a Marathon Maniac I had 2 marathons lined up but trained too hard too fast and ended up with shin splints that took 8 months to heal. Injury ain’t no fun. Then after sitting out for a while you’ve got to ween yourself back into the game. That too can be a challenge because the easy chair gets way too comfy!
56 Days and Counting
As of today, Friday 2/16/18, it’s 56 days till race day. That means your mileage is getting up there and the possibility of injury increases dramatically. Whether you’re running 13.1 or 26.2 you should be running longer distances for longer periods of time. What that means is more stress and more strain on your muscles, ligaments, back, everything. It also means tiredness. When you’re tired it’s very easy to “not” pay attention to form. It’s easy to get sloppy. That’s a high risk scenario for injury.
It’s been a long run. You’re tired. You can’t wait to be done. You’re totally focused on getting to the end of the run. You’re not paying attention. Suddenly, you catch a toe and face plant. Or you come down on the side of your foot and twist an ankle. There are a ton of scenarios. The longer the run the more important it is to pay attention to form to avoid an injury.
An Endorphin Superhero
Endorphins are amazing! There’s a reason it’s called a runner’s high. When the endorphins kick in the world turns to bliss! I’m happier sitting here just thinking about them. The side effect of endorphins is that we think we’re superheros. Consequently, there’s a tendency to pick up your pace, maybe even take a shot at a sprint (you know what I’m talk’n about). We add on a bunch of distance we got no business doing. Our bodies are still tired. Our form is still deteriorating. Our muscles are still running out of gas. Endorphins don’t make you stronger, or more resilient or a better runner. They just make you feel wonderful! If you succumb to the superhero temptation the chances of an injury go up exponentially.
Add Distance on Plan
Please remember to add every mile according to plan. Do yourself a favor – don’t wing it – plan it. General guidelines suggest a max of 1 or 2 miles at a time, at a pace 30 to 60 seconds slower per mile. With this old body of mine I keep it to a mile and 60 seconds slower or more. My body likes an 11 minute mile which means new miles are added at 12 minutes plus. It’s taken some serious non-trivial thought to wrap my head around those paces and I know they’ll get even slower as I add years. The thing is I like to run and injury ain’t no fun so I’ve become more cautious.
Unfortunately, in the next couple of weeks some of you will experience an injury. I’ll start getting e-mails from runners withdrawing from the race because an injury has taken them out. Pay attention to form when you’re tired, don’t be an endorphin superhero, and add distance according to plan. Please don’t be one of the ones who withdraw due to an injury. We want to see you on race day!
As always thanks for running with us. Registration fees go up March 1st. If you have some friends who have been thinking about running with us but haven’t signed up please encourage them to do so.
Be safe out there. Enjoy those runs!