Words of occasional wisdom from Bruce Oakley

Against a sea of troubles

Posted by boakley59 on June 15, 2011

They say there are two kinds of runners, those who are injured and those who will be. If injury is inevitable, though, it can also be rare and need not hurt so much or so long.

To keep our legs right, we can take a bit of Shakespearean advice and “take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.”

Here is a quick summary of thoughts on injuries and prevention, building upon a talk I gave recently (6/13/2011). I’ll expand on the key ideas in later posts.

A few catch phrases cover the territory:

• “Know thyself.” (Body type, mentality, fitness level, pain tolerance.)
• “It’s gotta be the shoes.” (Get the right kind for your foot.)

See my Best foot forward or click to view foot/shoe images from The Sporty Runner for an explanation. On The Sporty Runner page, notice the difference in the soles of the shoes from heel to arch:
Motion control shoe: A solid block of support material (usually in a different color on the inside heel) under the arch
Stability shoe: Not quite so full a block of support material (different color on inside heel) with a notch or wedge out at the arch
Neutral or cushion shoe: Minimal band of support material (main color) from heel to arch.

• “Obey your thirst.” (Get your fluids right.)
• “Always be prepared.” (Know how to build flexibility and strength.)

Build flexibility by always warming up, then do dynamic stretching (active limbering-up moves rather than slow, stationary stretches) before a workout. Walk or jog slower to cool down after the workout, then do the static stretching.
Build strength through basic exercises to avoid the five most common running injuries:
° Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS): Side leg raise.
° Shin splints: Heel walk, big toe raise.
° Runner’s knee: Half squats on a decline board.
° Achilles tendinitis: Calf drops.
° Plantar fasciitis: Arch raise with big toe-little toe-heel tripod.

• “Train, don’t strain.”

° Increase weekly mileage slowly, steadily (5%-7%).
° Allow for recovery: Fast or long runs should be followed by easy, short runs or rest days.
° Be careful when changing terrain (from grass to roads or sidewalks) or topography (hills to flat to trails).

• “The P-R-I-C-E is right.”

When you do have a problem, the treatment usually is Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. No shortcuts: The best way to Protect is usually to Rest, which is the step the competitor or mule in each of us wants to skip.

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