Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Do as I say, not as I do!

I'm a big believer in the idea that injuries don't just "happen." That is, 99 percent of the time, if you're injured, it's probably something you did wrong. So as a coach, I'm a bit embarrassed at the fact that I am currently sitting out right now with an ITB injury.

Looking back, I can see where my errors were: Laziness in my strength routine, neglecting important areas like my hips and glutes. And even bigger than that, not stopping running for a week or so when my leg started really flaring up. Here's how you can avoid the same mistakes:
  • It's been said 1,000 times, but here I go again--don't run through pain! If you're hurting somewhere--not just sore--running isn't going to make it go away. This applies to those pains that seem to subside as you get into your run, too. You simply can't run through an injury.
  • Take time off as soon as you realize that you're really hurting. The longer you run through the pain in denial (like I did), the longer you'll have to take off. Nipping it in the bud at the onset is your best bet for a speedy recovery.
  • Examine how you got the pain in the first place--With my ITB, I know now that I had not paid enough attention to my hip and glute strength. Often times, injuries are simply the result of too much/too soon or not enough rest. Figure out your root cause and fix it.
  • Take the time to strength train and stretch, regularly. I read recently that elites spend twice the amount of time on strength and flexibility that they do actually running. Yes, it's not the fun part of training, but if it keeps you out there, it's worth it.
  • Make ice your friend. When you do have a nagging pain, pull out the ice packs asap.
It's really that simple. 


  1. hang in there....speedy healing.
    I still have a weird thing going on with my "groin muscle" It is fine 90% of the time. When I run, walk or whatever BUT when I move just right it tightens and it painful. It is tender and not "stretching" out so well. More stretching I guess??

  2. I love the title of this post - we are all guilty of it. I often talk to my daughter about taking time to rest, and she replies, "aren't you 'running through' tendonitis right now?" kinda humbling. The problem is identifying being "hurt" vs. being "injured". I feel like if I don't run everytime I "hurt" - I will be taking a lot of time off. I think that's why we often try to "run through it". If I had a little indicator light like on my car that said "you are really injured this time" it would much easier.

  3. I knew all that and still... Maybe if I hear that message often enough it will sink in. At least I am not alone here.
    Heal fast.

  4. Jim--I agree with that--I do think you need to test the waters sometimes to determine if it is an injury. I guess I should add that if it progresses after a couple of runs rather than subsides, then stop!

  5. Great advice I needed to hear again! I know I seriously need to start paying attention to my strength training or my ITB will come back to haunt me again!

  6. Great advice. If only I took it last year instead of suffering through two injuries, back to back.

    Here's a question. What if my heel feels kind of funny but I wouldn't say it hurts, per se? Something just feels really tight and odd in there. My calf muscles are always sore and tight becuase I run on my forefoot so they're forced to work really hard.

    I have been trying to stretch my calf muscles like crazy. Is there anything else I can do for my heel/achilles tendon? Like I said, it doesn't HURT but it feels beyond just tight.

  7. elites spend twice the amount of time on strength and flexibility that they do actually running

    That is fascinating.