*Cue Vanilla Ice here* Side-tangent for a moment, does anyone remember watching him in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie…oh, good times.
Now back on topic: ice. I’ve said many a time that injuries in our sport are a necessary evil that always sort of lurk in the back of our minds. At least for me, anytime I feel a new niggle, twang, soreness, whatever, there is a little knot in my stomach. Inner dialogue: “Oh, it’s nothing….what if it’s not…I’m sure it’s nothing and just forget it…but what if it turns into something…don’t think about it and it won’t exist…what if I can’t run tomorrow…you will, shut up…”
The thing is, as ridiculous as it sounds, the doom of being forced out of running due to an injury has built up to monstrous proportions in my mind. Forget Halloween, it’s the injury boogeyman we need to be worried about. Cross-training of course is readily available, but we know how I feel and I’d rather be running…of course something is better than nothing, but you know what I mean.
So in the end, we know that the injury boogeyman could be lurking around the corner, BUT we do all we can to outsmart him. Here’s a few things to stay ahead of the game:
*Ice it, Baby. I’m not going to lie, ice has little magical powers in my mind. The best thing to do is if you have anything that’s sore or bothering you, get ice on it as soon after your run as possible. Ice for up to 15 minutes at a time on one spot (any longer you could risk some nerve damage); you can ice multiple times a day, just keep an eye on the clock. Though, don’t ice right before you are about to workout, that would not be smart and you would most likely end up pulling something! Oh, and by the way, what works well for tricky spots is to fill dixie cups with water and freeze them; then just peel down the paper and rub that ice on there.
*Diligent Stretching. Wow, this is a case of ‘do as i say, not as i do’ because I know I’m a bad girl for not stretching more; I do a little every day but not as much as I need to. The more flexible are, the more resistant to an injury you’ll be. That said, DO NOT go stretching crazy on a muscle that is newly sore or you think you pulled/strained. In fact, for instances like that, you want to give the trauma area at least a day of not stretching it (ice it instead) and then the next day you can gently start stretching…but only to the point of no pain. Just hold the stretch longer and work into it.
*Self-massage. Spoiler alert, check out the December Issue of Running Times because I wrote a whole article on this. But self-massage works like stretching, you want to do little bits of it on a consistant bases to ward off an injury. Again, don’t start massaging a new injury with the intention of ‘treating it away’ because the tissues are already inflamed and you’ll irritate them more.
*Ibuprofen. These are my magic pills.
*Be smart. In the end, be honest with yourself and know when to cede. I’m the queen of pushing it, but think about the consequences. If it’s a big race, ya maybe you can risk it, but if there is no reason to push it then err on the side of cautious. Here is the rule I play by: if the pain hurts when you start running but then as you get going it goes away/gets better then you’re probobaly fine. But, if it works in the opposite way, and the pain get worse the further you go then you should ease up and cross-train.
*Make frieds with cross-training. As much as it may sting, that cross-training can still keep you in great shape and like I said, it’s so much better than doing nothing. Supplement with it, and I’ve found that even so much as just a few days of the lower impact exercise can work wonders on a spot giving you a beef.
On that note…as our oh so smart friend said, “Ice, Ice, Baby.”
1) Do you get mini-anxiety attacks when you are faced with a potential injury?
I have nightmares of the injury boogeyman chasing me.
2) What are some of your tips for assesing or warding off an injury?
3) Anyone racing this weekend?