Tag Archive: injury prevention


Safety First

On a day earlier this week, my husband arrived home from work which meant it was time for a run. I told him that I was only aiming for a three mile run. As it turned out…

I lied.

As I have done many times in the past I started out on a run only intending to get in three miles or so but if my legs and lungs felt good I kept going. So that three mile run turned into a seven mile run. Quite a big difference in terms of not only distance but time. I don’t carry a phone on my run. I don’t run with a partner or dog. On this particular night since I thought I’d be back before nightfall I wasn’t even wearing anything particularly reflective or bright. I run mostly along rural roads and facing traffic. Almost every one of the handful of cars I saw that night gave me more than enough of a safety cushion when driving past, after which I give the “courtesy nod” or the “courtesy wave”. The “I recognize that you are not an ass-hat and you don’t want me to fear for my safety” nod/wave of appreciation. If there’s enough of a shoulder I run in the grass off of the road because you never know when someone is going to veer a bit because they’re looking at their phone or radio. If there is a sidewalk, I use it. So not to worry. I’m not a completely naive runner who likes to throw caution to the wind.

On this particular run it was completely dark by mile 5. I had been gone for about 50 minutes and honestly expected to see my husband roll around the corner in his vehicle with our son strapped in his car seat for a “let’s go find mommy” joyride at any moment. At mile 6.2 is when it happened. A truck slowed and I knew. My husband had given in to his worry and hunted me down for fear I was in a ditch somewhere and he needed to contemplate how to continue working as a single parent. I think he was overreacting a bit but it’s nice to know he cares.

I apologized and told him I was fine and that I wanted to finish up the last mile or so and I’d see him back at home. Our son was happily along for the ride probably wondering where the final destination would be. I’m sure he was super bummed when they arrived right back where they had started a minute ago. Being in running mode, I immediately cursed myself for not stopping my watch when I stopped to converse with my worry wort husband and knew my pace numbers would be all messed up.

Upon reaching home and acknowledging that I was no longer a lonely spinster bachelorette, but a wife and mother who had responsibilities and a family that needed me, I made a deal with my husband. On my long running days I would bring my phone on an arm band and I would purchase hi-vis yellow gear or wear his military glow belt (because nothing says special like wearing one of these…) if I ran close to sunset or thereafter.

I see what you did there, Army. Touche.

Because, really, runners should do their best to be safe on the roads or trails.

  • Invest in RoadID, or a similar identification tag to alert someone of your identity, emergency contact, and pertinent medical information.
  • Run against traffic; bike with traffic.
  • Lift your knees higher when running on uneven terrain like trails or broken pathways due to roots. This will avoid trips and spills that can lead to rolled ankles, sprains, and breaks.
  • Wear reflective clothing in the evening and early morning.
  • Make sure that if you run with earphones on that they are sensitive to ambient noise, or don’t wear them at all and just let your phone’s speaker be a mini stereo.
  • Make sure you’re adequately hydrated. Nothing messes up a run/ride like lack of water flowing through your system.
  • Buy some runner’s mace and avoid known unsavory neighborhoods. Heck, take some self-defense classes while you’re at it. Probably a good way to burn some extra calories.
  • If you have the opportunity, run with a buddy or your pet. But if your pet is a short legged basset hound please let him just bask his floppy ears in the sun rather than make him accompany you on a 5 mile trek and because his intimidation factor is probably a -2 anyway.
  • ALWAYS make sure someone knows what neighborhood/trail you are running.
  • BE VIGILANT. I don’t mind zoning out on a run because it makes the miles go by faster but that’s not necessarily great for my safety. Make sure you’re looking around if something catches your attention. I always make note of where law enforcement officers live along my routes

Does anyone else have any tips to remain safe while going for a run? Or better yet do you have a story of a close call but you were grateful that you had a safety item that helped you?

I feel like this training is going quickly. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. And I’ve definitely learned a thing or two along the way.

  1. I’m no spring chicken. I am not in grade school, high school, or even college anymore. I cannot have the expectation that I can pick up where I left off. I need to embrace this new stage where I am capable of a whole new level of athleticism.
  2. Building up mileage is a process and even if it is a beautiful day out I need to be aware that adding too much mileage in one run puts me at risk for injury and then feeling discouraged. Do not sabotage yourself.
  3. Listening to my body is important. I know the difference between soreness and pain. New runners often don’t. If an ailment makes you limp after a run it’s probably safe to say that you should take some complete rest days or replace a run with a very low impact cardio workout. You are not weak for making a sound decision to protect the hard work/mileage you’ve already accumulated.
  4. There are some days I just don’t have the energy to go for a run. It’s not just that I’m feeling lazy and I tell myself “Nah, I’ll put off my workout for today.” It’s when I only got a few hours of decent sleep or when my son is extra demanding of my energy (he’s an energy vacuum). If I can’t remember where I just put my phone when I had it in my hand just 5 minutes ago it’s probably not going to be a good run. Unless I can manage a nap. Then it’s game on!

So last I left you all, I made a comment about a certain aching in my backside. I took it very light the following runs and my LSD went perfectly.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 25 min arms & shoulders

Wednesday: 2.16 mi (25:48 time/11:56 pace) injury prevention

Thursday: 1 mile (9:25) timed mile with 800m warm up & 800m cool down

Friday: core workout

Saturday: 2 hr walking around Strawberry Festival

Sunday: Rest

 

So yeah, a pitiful 3.16 total miles, but now I have absolutely zero pain. Totally worth it. I decided due to the weather to pass on my LSD on Sunday and complete it the following day. It was a judgment call and it didn’t turn into a multiple day break so I stand by my decision. We as a family will be out of town this weekend so I imagine I’ll get an opportunity to run on a treadmill at a hotel. Can you feel my excitement? Or at the very least can you feel my sarcasm?

Beaking it in

Micro G Defy

Last weekend I went to an Under Armour Outlet store. It took all of my willpower to not buy out the store and just stick with some new trainers; A pair of Micro G Defy. (Although… I do regret not picking up that cute 1/4 zip water repellant running jacket after Sunday’s running challenges.) I took them out for their first run yesterday and it was not good. I could feel the cushion a lot better in these shoes which was awesome but shortly into my run I started getting a sharp pain in my bum. I wasn’t sure if this was due to adjusting to my new shoes or if I had neglected my piriformis muscle. *Bad runner! For shame!* So grudgingly I cut my run short. I even found myself limping a little when I got home. So today I have decided to take some extra time to stretch it out and do a little yoga prior to running today. I’m really hoping that will help. I never thought my training would become a pain in the @$$ this soon! So punny.

I feel like my scoliosis is partially to blame. My spine has a moderate to severe curve and it puts my body’s balance all out of whack. If my back puts uneven pressure on one side of my body that means it affects everything below from my hips to my knees to my feet. Should I have found a deep, unrelenting love with a different sport… a more impact forgiving sport like swimming or cycling? Probably. But you love what you love. I can’t give up on running just as much as I can’t give up on cheese. So I press on. If it still gives me trouble I may have a professional review my form to make sure I’m not making my body work harder than it has to. Work smarter not harder right?!

Any challenges giving you a headache lately? An old injury flaring up or maybe you’re struggling to PR on a certain course? Push through, gain perspective from someone else’s point of view, and make your necessary changes. It’s not over until you’re six feet under.

Mission: Delayed

Ugh… I feel like such a failure. I had to take the weekend off from continuing with my push-up challenge. Perhaps I had set my goals too high because on day 4 of my challenge I could only complete 30 push-ups. Why? I strained my lower abdominal muscles. Every push-up was excruciating torture. The previous day I tried to work through the pain thinking it was merely muscle soreness. But day 4 put the final nail in the coffin. I wallowed in self-pity and took the weekend to heal. But I’m not going to let it stop me from building my upper body strength up.

So what to do? Start over! Except this time I’m going to be a bit smarter about it. Start at 20 push-ups and add 5 each day until I reach 100! I’m also going to do extra core work so that I can avoid injury this time around. It may seem like I’m working backwards but I want to avoid injury at all costs. Really, I should have seen this coming. You don’t just go out and decide to run 10 miles for two weeks without having built up your endurance, right?

Know the difference between soreness and pain. Lesson learned.

I appreciate everyone’s support with my daunting task. Injury is always lurking around the corner but the sooner you recognize it and take the time to heal the sooner you can get back into routines. Denial can be dangerous when it comes to injury. Listen to your body!

I think I can…

I increased my mileage to 2.6 miles last night… singing the whole way… blissfully ignorant of my surroundings. I even ran at 90% max the last 100-200m. I actually really enjoy running in the cold. Mostly because, if it’s cold enough, my legs and feet get pretty numb thanks to my almost non-existent blood circulation.  My plan right now is to just run until I get tired and then turn around. I’ll worry about improving my pace (which is downright abysmal right now) later. Slow and steady wins the marathon right?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to start taping the arches of my feet to keep shin splints at bay. This worked for me during my college years when I got some insanely intense shin splints in both legs at the same time. I’m not quite sure my mode of transportation could even have been defined as hobbling or limping. During that week of recovery I mostly sought the kindness of strong friends willing to give piggyback rides. I guess my other option would have been wheelbarrow race-esque or fireman carry. Either way how would I have carried my books?!?!

I may give in to the hype and try KT tape. If you’ve never heard of it I’ll still bet that you’ve seen it used… unless of course you completely boycotted watching the Olympics last year. Remember that brightly colored tape on the shoulders of Kerri Walsh during the beach volleyball games or on Trey Hardee’s legs during the decathlon? Yep, that’s the stuff I’m referring to. The Olympics definitely got the ball rolling on this so-called miracle in injury prevention. It’s kinesiology tape from companies like SpiderTech, Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape, or Kinesio Tape. Will it work any better than regular good ol’ athletic tape? That remains to be seen but I’ll definitely let you know if when I use it. There are similar products out there but I’ll have to do a bit of research to find out which will benefit my needs the most.

Please note that I have no affiliations with SpiderTech, KT or Kinesio products and have not been approached to use their products for review. Although if they wanted to send me some freebies to use I wouldn’t be opposed to accepting their offer and writing an unbiased review. But in all seriousness has anyone out there already invested in these products who can give me an opinion? Try the magical properties of this tape or stick with traditional athletic tape? Seriously, I want to know!

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