I’m a little late with this announcement, but I’ve been officially given the all clear from my physical therapist, and have been discharged from therapy. I should be jumping, or running for joy, but I’m having a hard time being 100% optimistic.
I haven’t run with pain in weeks. My last race, the 5k I did with my son on April 20 went well and I have been pain free since then, but I haven’t done more than 2-3 miles at a time since then. I have had some time to reflect on my injury and how I got there, and thought I’d share, because looking back, I can see a lot of problems and where things went wrong.
1. A wonky training schedule: Too much, too fast- I found myself injured just a few weeks before the Princess Half, and was forced to run through that race in pain. I told myself I had properly trained for the race, and to some extent, I did. But that’s not completely the truth. I did train for the distance, and I had no problem completing the full 13+ miles. But I climbed, to fast. I had a hard time fining motivation through the end of last year. I would run 1-2 times a week, my training schedule wasn’t a schedule at all, just when I could convince myself to go for a run. Up until the end of December, I hadn’t done more than 6.5 miles, and that I’d only done once. The beginning of January rolled around and I knew I needed to get my behind in gear. I finally started sticking to the 2 45 minute runs during the week and started the long runs on the weekends. By the middle of January, 6 weeks before the race, I was at 6-7 miles for a long run. I climbed by a full mile, sometimes a bit more, each week. In 4 weeks I went from 6 miles to over 10 miles, and this is when the pain kicked in. As I often do, I left things to the last minute. While I did get the miles in under my belt, I went way too fast climbing to get there.
2. Lack of strength training- Up until I started physical therapy, I had absolutely no idea how big of a part balance and strength in so many parts of my body meant to healthy running. I thought it was all endurance, and that running built up the muscles in my legs. Not so. My first visit to my therapist revealed extremely weak muscles in most major areas of my body. My core(abs and back muscles) we weak, my hips were all out of whack(which is extremely common in women, especially those who have had children), my hips and glutes were weak, and my leg muscles were weak. What the what? I was in great shape. I could run a half marathon! That wasn’t the case. There are so many factors of muscles that control your legs and hips while running, and if those areas are weak and not balanced, injuries can easily occur. In my case, they did. Even after 2 months in physical therapy and introducing new methods of strength training, weakness is still an issue, although I have seen quite a bit of improvement.
3. Stretching- Who needs it? This girl didn’t. I could get out there, run, and not have any issues. I didn’t need stretching. So I didn’t do any stretching. Big mistake. Stretching really helps keep my body balanced, and while I’m a get out there and do kind of girl, who doesn’t want to slow down for things like stretching, I now know it’s something that has to be done.
This experience has really taught me a lot about my body and the mechanics of running. It’s really not as simple as lace up your shoes and get moving. Now my goal is to get completely on track, because I’ve got a busy schedule ahead this fall and winter. I have back to back half marathons planned, 2 within 13 days in October and November. I’ve gotten the green light from the wonderful Mister to earn one half of my Coast 2 Coast medal with the Tinkerbell half marathon in Disneyland in January. I’ll be accepting the Glass Slipper Challenge, a 10k and the Princess Half Marathon in 2 days, in February. If I want to finish those races pain free, I will have to keep up with strength training, stretching, and a proper training schedule. Thank goodness Disney is helpful and puts out Jeff Galloway training plans for each of their races!