Ambassador Susan says “Injuries Suck…Learn from my training errors!”

August 16, 2014

It’s always easier (and less painful) to learn from other runner’s mistakes. When I started training for my first marathon in 2008 I joined a running group and was running more consistently than I ever had before as well as including speed workouts in my training routine. I saw my running improve in a short period of time. A month before my marathon I ran Around the Bay for the first time. One of my running buddies at the time had warned me saying “Run it easy and save it for the marathon.” But I was feeling good on race day and ran Around the Bay hard. I was happy with my time and thought I was on track for a great marathon … little did I know that a series of training errors would leave me limping in a few short weeks.

Training Eraround the bayror #1: I ran Around the Bay on a Sunday and then did a workout on the Tuesday with the running group. The run was at a much faster pace than it should have been. My muscles and tissues were not recovered yet from Around the Bay. The result Mechanical Stress Overload!

Training Error #2: Being proud of myself for running well at Around the Bay I went out and bought myself a pair of new running shoes J There was a pair of really pretty Mizunos that I liked. Unfortunately what I didn’t realize was that they were racing flats and had a significant heel drop from the shoes I was wearing previously. Transitioning too quickly to a shoe with a larger heel drop puts a lot of additional stress on your calf muscles. The result Mechanical Stress Overload!

Training Error #3: By the end of the week following Around the Bay I had done 2 workouts at a faster pace in my new running shoes and my right calf was hurting. It wasn’t that normal muscle ache from a hard workout … it was pain. Unfortunately I received some pretty bad advice on how to manage the pain, which was to take ibuprofen and Tylenol and keep running. If you need to take medication to run, that’s probably a good sign you need to stop running and see a health care professional. Taking medications like Tylenol mask the pain you may be feeling allowing for more Mechanical Stress Overload! The ibuprofen when taken before a workout acts to block the inflammatory process before it even gets started. You need inflammation to heal! Inflammation is your friend if you want your muscles to heal after a workout!

Training Error #4: I kept running through the pain thinking that if I missed a workout I would be missing out on valuable training for my marathon. The pain in my calf got worse with every run and I didn’t listen to my body. I went from a little pain at the start of my runs, to a lot of pain throughout the whole run, to finally leaving me limping when I walked. Listen to your body! Pain is usually a signal of protection from your brain and for an acute injury it is your best friend telling you that you are in danger and you need to listen!

So did I get to the marathon finish line???

Well I limped into Fowler Kennedy got told I probably had a partial calf tear and some nice shin splints to go with it because I kept running on the injured calf. I had to stay off the calf for the entire time leading up to the marathon. Still being stubborn and downright stupid and not having learned my lesson, I ran the marathon (after taking a few Tylenol first … it really didn’t seem that stupid at the time!). I ended up running terribly in the marathon and it took me about 2 months following it to recover and be able to walk properly again. Just over a year later I was out in Vancouver training with Forerunners and my calf started to hurt again. I talked to my coach and got the best advice of my life … stop running and get in the pool. One week later my calf was better and I was back to running. We talked about what probably caused the calf pain and the answer was Mechanical Stress Overload!!! Too much stress on the calf, with not enough time to recover. I have now learned and haven’t had any issues with my calf in the last 4 years.

Sometimes you have to make big mistakes to learn from them. Pain and injuries suck, plain and simple! But one week off from running is much better than one month! Listen to your body, don’t take medications to “help” you run, be careful when transitioning to new shoes and most importantly give your body time to adapt and don’t let Mechanical Stress Overload stop you from running!

Have a great Rock the Road and recover well!!!!


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