As a 32-year-old runner, if I’m going to go long and far often, I need to be in tune with my body. It’s important that I understand and know its capabilities and its limits. I don’t have much room for error. I can’t screw this up because I’m one of those runners — the addicted type who has to do it to survive. You know, the runner you know whose sanity CANNOT AFFORD injury.
Serious injury means serious time not running.
And that is unacceptable!
I know because I’ve been there.
This past spring, after a few months of careless overtraining and a blatant disregard for my body for the sake of doing something I probably wasn’t ready to do anyway, I had to sit my running addicted ass down.
For six weeks.
No running. For six weeks.
I swam. Hated it. I biked. Hated it. Oh, and I pouted too.
The problem is: NO ONE LIKES A POUTY, INJURED RUNNER.
After that, I made it my mission to stay healthy first, consider performance second. And it’s working.
In fact, I am recognizing twinges and pulls and knots — all possible warnings of injuries that could come without immediate action. I am understanding my body in innate, primordial ways. It’s like being aware. I’m becoming conscious of what is going on.
Also, the following:
I avoid NSAIDS except for after really hard races where I’m expecting 3-4 days off from running for recovery.
I ice everything. If it even HINTS at aching I ice it.
I massage. Foam roller. The Stick. My own two damn hands. I’m working out knots like a boss.
I eat well. Whole foods. None of that corn syrup shit. No fast food. Just healthy and DELICIOUS stuff. Fish. Rice. Fruits. Vegetables.
I sleep. A lot. 7-8 hours every school night and 8-10 hours per night on the weekends.
And of course, if there’s ever a question that something will get worse if I run on it, I give it a day off. Yes. And I don’t get all pissy about it and act like a goddamn baby anymore.
I finally realized that one or two days off in a row isn’t going to hurt me. And if I think I might need to take a day off, then I just take a day off. I mean, if I even have to consider it then I just do it.
I’m doing all this and I’m also getting faster, stronger and more confident about where I can take myself. It’s hard to complain about that.