Injuries are a constant risk for people who are trying to improve their running.
No matter how careful we are, niggles, twinges, or injuries can happen. Luckily if you're mindful and smart about them, you can minimize their impact on your training.
Let's break down a few scenarios.
The first is what happens when you develop a full-blown injury:
Now let's go through what I did when I strained my foot in the exact same scenario:
In one scenario the runner who was not willing to rest was forced to take two full weeks fully off and will likely require at least two more to return to normal training. In the second real life
Resting for a few days will almost always be adequate to let a potential injury regenerate.
That is one of the hardest things for many runners to deal with, being willing to rest.
Below are a few other links:
Should you stretch that injury?| Dr. Stephen Gangemi "Sock Doc" | "The two best things you can do to an injured area is to apply deep pressure manipulation as well as move the area, if it’s safe to do so."
What to do When you Pull a Muscle From Working Out | Stephanie Lee at Lifehacker | "think about it for a second: if a pulled muscle is a result of overstretching, then stretching it further to its full range of motion won’t help."
Think Twice Before Applying Ice | Kristi Anderson, MPT | "The conventional use of ice, particularly in the first 24-48 hours following injury, soothes the pain and slows the bleeding into the injured area, but some experts suggest that its effects on the circulation might slow the natural rate of the healing process. Heat stimulates the area to respond in ways that seem to promote healing but the current research is lacking direct evidence that it influences recovery time."
Heal Running Injuries Faster with Heat | Steve Gonser, PT, DPT | "Clinically, I use this quite often. It’s a great way to nudge yourself down the path to full recovery. Both the use of muscles and heat can cause increased blood flow; however, the latter can do so without loading healing tissue. A simple “on for 20, off for 20” cycle can draw blood to a localized area and keep you healing even when you’re lying low.
This is a favorite routine of mine to do in the morning! It should not be fatiguing, but instead a nice mobility and warmup routine.
Static:Active Hip Flexor Stretch
3 x (:20 static – :20 active) each side
Glute Bridge with Abduction
2 x (10 x 5 second hold) Continuously clench butt.
2 x 20 each side. Continuously clench butt.
Resistance Band Crab Walk
2 x :30 each way
Isometric Glute Med Hold
3 sets of 30 second holds each side
Psoas & Glute Med Exercise
3 sets of 10 each side
Yoga may be the most common class that athletes attend as a form of cross training.
It is often touted as being useful in increasing flexibility and range of motion. I’m not sure if it actually increased ROM during running (since that’s about relaxation and reciprocal inhibition) and I’m not convinced that more flexibility is a good thing for runners.
Recently I came across an article titled The 5 Most Common Errors Athletes Make with Yoga, and the below quote really stuck out to me:
Flexibility without stability is nothing more than a recipe for injury.
A lack of stability decreases range of motion, because when your brain senses this instability it will tense the body to protect the limbs, reducing range of motion.
Who says static flexibility leads to a high range of motion while running anyway? You do need to be able to relax the glutes to allow your forward moving leg to move up and at the same time relax the hip to allow the trailing leg to travel backwards. I’m not sure that movement has anything to do with being able to do deep yoga poses.
It should also be mentioned that it’s been found runners who are less flexible are more economic, because their bodies have to work less to stabilize itself during the run-gait.
Speaking of economics, there’s elastic recoil, or the use of the tendons and muscles as springs to help provide you with energy for forward momentum. A flimsy spring will not have as much recoil as a tighter one.
Just some miscellaneous thoughts on my end, but worth considering I think.
Should you stretch that injury?| Dr. Stephen Gangemi "Sock Doc" | “Traditional stretching does not help injuries because it strains the muscle fibers and connective tissues that are trying to heal.”
Quite a Stretch -Stretching research clearly shows that a stretching habit isn’t good for much of anything that people think it is | Paul Ingraham from SaveYourself.ca | “”There is really only one “benefit” to stretching that seems to be clear and (almost) uncontroversial: it does increase flexibility. The trouble is, what is it worth? Is it actually a benefit?””
Stop Stretching Your Hamstrings! | Michelle Edwards | “Pulling on any muscle in a static stretch will not make a muscle longer but might damage the tendons and ligaments that keep joints stable during movement. Instead take long walks, lay on a big exercise ball to open the front of your body and try a standing desk.”
They say runners need flexibility, but you may be surprised at the latest thinking | Amanda Loudin |“If the springs aren’t tight enough, they can’t do their jobs properly.”