Friday, October 26, 2012

Running and injuries - It's the little things - Part 1

As a new runner, having started (moved up from walking to regularly running further than 100 yards) just three months ago, I wanted to set a reasonable and achievable first goal. Having no real idea what that goal should be or what anyone else would do, my starting goal was to be able to run a mile without falling over dead. 

It did not take long to get there and after only a couple weeks this was easily achieved and it was time to set a new goal. It became finishing a 5K (3.1 miles) 'race' by walking and running as much as possible. BAAM! that was done and then the goal became to run a complete 5K without walking - and so my 'running career' started!

These were great goals for a beginning runner, an athlete in training (I did not feel qualified to be called an athlete), with zero confidence in myself, I did not want to make these goals known publicly for fear that I would not be able to accomplish them. Then they came and went with very little fanfare although I felt great about each one.

My next goal was to complete a Half Marathon (13.1 miles), this time I wasn't as worried about dying during the attempt as much as whether I could stay upright long enough to finish in under 3 hours (the fastest runners usually cross the finish in just over 60 minutes). Could I actually stay moving for more than three hours???

To help train for this I started reading books and joined a local running club ( and then before I knew it I was running 5 miles on a Saturday and again 3 more days that week (20 miles!). 

BAAM! Suddenly my left knee and right foot started hurting, enough to make running very painful. A visit to the local sports specialist ( who treats professional athletes and Olympians in addition to being a five time IronMan finisher herself - quickly got the root of the problem causing the knee pain. A 3-4mm adjustment to the shoe insert cured that problem almost instantly and I felt great.

According to some research, if you run regularly you'll have a 37 - 56% chance of getting injured. Some estimate that up to 70% of injuries are likely to recur  It was time to think about the health risks and benefits, putting them all in perspective resulted in more running!

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