What I learned from my running injuries

There has been quite a bit of pain associated with my running.

When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I have a slight curvature in spine that veers off towards the left in my lower back, like an upside down question mark, like Forrest Gump.

OK, not nearly that bad, although he is my running icon.

The chiropractor and yoga help tremendously. I really should see the chiropractor on a more on-going basis.

It is my theory that being out alignment has led to some of my further injuries and pain.

When I talk about “other injuries” I am mostly referring to my knees and left foot. Once I started some of the longer runs for marathon training, I started feeling SO much pain in my right knee.  It felt like it was squeaking “oil can” and that it may just explode if I took another step.

I went to the Dr. and was diagnosed with runner’s knee. I was told I should not run as much. I told him that was not going to happen, so he told me to start strengthening the muscles around my knee.

I have felt pain in both of my knees on and off through my runs. It has slowed me down, ruined my morale, led me to say many bad words and once, throw my water bottle at mile 17 in the OC Marathon, coupled with other choice words.

I started experiencing foot pain last summer. I trained for the Disneyland Half marathon with google diagnosed plantar fasciitis and limped around for a few months.

I took a unprecedented and heart wrenching 2 month break from running and am now slowly building my miles back up as I train for the Run Through Redlands Half-Marathon in April.

I am determined to do things different this time around and not exacerbate previous injuries, or worse, create new ones.

Some things that I have learned from being injured are:

  1. Stretch after each.and.every.run. Even if it is a 2miler. I absolutely feel the effects when I do not stretch. I feel tight and knotted up. There are certain stretches that REALLY help with the pain I experience, and I should be doing them each day.
  2. Strength train-although I hate admitting it, strength training improves my running. I feel stronger and can tell I have more endurance.
  3. Go to yoga, often-to quote my chiropractor, “some of the best spines I have seen are on yoga teachers, some of the worst are on runners.”  I guess I am hoping if I do both, I can negate some of the effects on my back. I have seen many positive results from yoga, and yet another is the foot, ankle and back stretches that help with the pounding running puts on my joints.Some of my favorite poses can be found here.
  4. Go to the Chiropractor, often-this is more of a reminder to myself, more than anything. I usually wait until my neck or back is in pain to go, or when I feel a migraine coming on (a sure sign I am out of alignment). I really should be going about every other week, especially as I am training.
  5. Ice-One of my least favorite, especially in the winter months. The last thing I want to do after a run in the cold, is put something even colder on bare skin. But, I have noticed a difference in how sore I am later, if I ice right away. It also reduces any inflammation that may have occurred during my run.
  6. Rest-Sometimes, a day of rest is better than a day of running. It has been worth it to me to find the balance between pushing myself when I am feeling lazy and being honest enough to take a break when needed. Whenever I feel like I do not want to run, I try to evaluate whether or not it is my mind or my body that needs the break. I can push through and usually find freedom in the run from physical barriers, but sometimes, my foot or knees just need a break, whether that be in a reduction of the day’s planned miles, pace or skipped altogether.I hope some of what I have learned, so far, is of a help to you. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment below!

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