Preventing Injuries and Healing Faster
Part Two: The Healing
Find your way to pain free running through knowledge and perseverance.
Healing With Patience
Every runner experiences their patience ticking against the clock as you mournfully look outside to see other runners pass by on the street. It can be disheartening to be injured. Your frustration may fester to the point of you shoving healing to the wayside. Every doctor and advice blog tells you to be patient, but what does patience really look like in the real world?
Having patience is about keeping the big picture in mind. If you run on an injury, you could have long term damage down the road. Running is a part of who you are, and it can build a foundation for your life. When you can recognize the beauty in rest, then the victory of your greatest mile will feel all the more sweeter.
Healing takes time, and training smart takes action. Many runners make the mistake of running too hard before their body has the strength to keep up, thus creating a cycle of injury. The key to changing it, is recognizing the there is victory in recovery. Your body needs time to repair itself. If you ignore the time needed to heal, your body may begin a cycle of mistrust and not heal properly.
Everyone heals at a different rate. For some it only takes a couple days to get back out on the track, while others it can take several weeks. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to consult a physical therapist or specialty doctor to help your recovery.
Not being able to run can also cause mental frustration that can lead to depression. There is no easy answer in being patient about a long term injury, but there can be understanding. Being injured creates a unique occurrence where life slows down, because you are physically slowed down. It allows for you to rethink your running strategy to prevent future injuries. If you are having trouble being patient with yourself in recovery, remember the victory in resting. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Another thing to remember when healing, is you are not alone. There are thousands of runners who are going through the same mental battle with injury as you. Reach out to running communities to discover what recovery strategies worked for fellow runners like you. Your best understanding of healing will come from those who have been through the same experience, and in return, you can pass on the same knowledge to other runners.
Healing is the art of patience and knowing what is best for your body. Yet, not all the advice out there points to just sit and wait it out. There are strategies that you can implement in your training to prevent future injury and perform at your best.
Prevent Injury Within Training
Take a moment to look over your running schedule. Perhaps it is repetitive, with the same route on any given day. Or maybe you mix it up with cross-training. Look a little deeper into your routine and notice your movement from day to day. What is causing pain as you run?
Jason Fitzgerald, who founded Strength Running, is a dedicated runner who believes the key to avoiding injury, is in the right training program. If your current training schedule is pushing you too much, take a step back and reevaluate.
Change It Up
Variety can help target different muscles and create a balance of strength. Implementing cross-training techniques that take different approaches to the same muscle group can help you overcome muscle imbalance and malalignment. Changing up your regular workout routine can also keep you from the boredom of the same schedule, which keeps your body rejuvenated after each work out.
If you typically run on the side of the road, consider trying out a trail or different terrain. Roads are slightly slanted at the ages, which can create an imbalance in muscle strength on one side. If you tend to have pain only on one side, consider changing up your route.
The right strength building techniques can bring your fitness back to its optimal level. Adding a variety of techniques to rebuilding your muscles is key in recovery. In minor cases of injury, you can target what muscle group needs better balance, but in severe cases you need to consult a doctor or physical therapist.
Runners want to run, but running can be incredibly hard on your body. Thus, the beginning of triathlons and the technique of cross-training. Cross-training allows for your body to take less impact in the muscles targeted while running. Try out different forms of exercise, like swimming or biking, to give your body a little rest against the hard impact of running.
One technique to consider is the Ballista Routine, which targets specific muscle groups for runners. Keep repetitions small in recovery and only increase by 10% every week. A slow and efficient recovery is better than a quick one, because it allows your body to heal and rebuild itself.
The true secret to a fast recovery is to recognize what your body needs and to build strength up overtime, which helps you consistently perform at your best.
For those who train and train, but just cannot seem to maintain the strength your body needs to handle the miles, consider supplementing your run with specific nutrients you may be missing.
One such nutrient you may need is electrolytes. If you do not have enough in your system, then your body will heal slower. The energy from electrolytes aids muscle contraction, which can help your body maintain strength.
When you get injured, you body needs the right nutrients, which includes the right foods. Dr. Axe is a certified nutrition specialist, natural medicine expert, and a chiropractor who advocates for understanding about the essentials needs for your body. Common feelings of fatigue or muscle weakness may not just be general soreness. It could have the root cause of lack of nutrients.
Turmeric and omega-3 foods can help reduce inflammation after an injury and help fight against muscle weakness and pain. What you put in your body has a direct correlation with helping you be a better runner, so be aware of what your body may need. If you are unsure, consult a physician or nutrition specialist to help discover the nutrients necessary to help you build up muscle and recover faster.
An important factor in any training program is the right gear. Calf compression socks can significantly decrease your chances of shin splints as well as help with varicose veins. With increased blood flow in your calves, it gives you better energy and prevents muscle fatigue.
Make sure you have the right gear to stay hydrated and prepared as you run. A key factor in being able to increase your mileage is to keep your body well fueled with nature's good intentions of water. Consider getting a hydration pack or belt for the ability to run that extra mile.
With the right gear, you can prevent injury and keep your body well hydrated to stay active and healthy.
The Myth of Stretching
Dr. Dennis Cardone from NYU Langone Medical Center revealed that stretching doesn't actually prevent injury. It may give relief, but there is little research to back up the benefits of stretching before a run. The key in training is to properly warm-up and stretch afterwards to give your muscles a little space to breathe and recoup. Stretching can also increase flexibility and create stability for you as a runner, but ultimately will not be able to protect you from injury.
Do not let your body stay in a cycle of chronic pain or injury. Empower yourself to be a better runner and seek medical advice if your pain still persists. Give your body time to rest, heal, and recover before jetting out to your next race. Choose to be patient with yourself, and know that the secret to recovery is knowing the root cause of injury and how to build up a balance of strength.