Becoming a Smarter Runner

If you follow me on dailymile or twitter you already know that I’ve been dealing with a back injury. (My guess is a strain or sprain.)

Throughout my brief running career, I wouldn’t characterize myself as a “smart runner”. I thought didn’t have to warm up or cool down since I never got hurt. For someone so smart, I’m pretty stupid sometimes.

That mindset came back to bite me in the butt this week. I can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this injury since there are a few things that could have caused it. For example, my new job involves sitting at a low table (set up for third graders) and leaning over to tutor. On the other hand, I’m currently participating in the #RWRunStreak. (Today is day 27.) I’ve never run that many days in a row.

Regardless of the cause, this injury has thrown me for a loop. My weekly rundown Monday will discuss the daily progression. Today I want to talk about the steps I’m taking to become a smarter runner because honestly I’m frustrated right now. I foolishly attempted a “long” run this morning and probably took a step backwards. I’m not in pain but my back is extremely tight. Through that I learned another important lesson, one that should have been the first.

1. Rest.
I’ll start with the toughest first. Remember that acronym RICE? While I can’t compress or elevate my back I definitely iced it (and used IcyHot) I foolishly wanted to avoid R(est).

I wanted to maintain my #RWRunStreak. Even after the worst day of back pain, I laced up my shoes Wednesday morning to try for a mile. I told myself that it didn’t hurt (true) while I ran.

I told myself that I was being smart by cutting the run down to a mile. I had to get that mile in. I had to maintain the streak limping along with a single mile until my back felt well enough to start training again. Stupid.

I realized today that this run streak doesn’t matter. I don’t get a medal or any outside recognition. I should avoid stupidity (continuing the streak) and let my body heal so that I can run the races I’ve registered for. The San Francisco Second Half Marathon is 5 weeks away. I’d much rather run that than maintain a 38 day streak.

Here’s the declaration My #RWRunStreak ends today at 27 days. That’s harder to say than it should be. I won’t run for the next three days. I won’t even jog somewhere to get there a little faster. Walking will suffice. If I have to take off more days I will. (Such a decision will be hard but if it keeps me running…)

2. Incorporate warm ups and cool downs in my run routine.
I’ve researched (and will continue to) good warm up and cool down routines. I haven’t incorporated them yet since I haven’t been running more than a mile. This will happen once I resume running.

3. Strengthen my back/core.
I’m a typical, single-minded runner. I’ve neglected my core, especially my back, for a while. This must change. I started on Thursday with some exercises and stretches from the Mayo Clinic. I plan to research and incorporate more strengthening moves as my back heals. Also, Amanda is hosting an abs challenge for July. Perfect timing.

4. Maintain proper posture.
Not only does my back feel better if I sit, stand, and lay properly, it’s also a good preventative measure. I’ve added a reminder on my iPhone app to help me remember even when my back feels better and it’s easier to forget.

Additionally, I want to add things like yoga back into my fitness routine in a few weeks.

Finally, the most important thing that I want to work on is increased dependence on God. He is the one that gives me the ability to run and can just as easily take it away. He should be first in my life, not running.



Filed under marathon, running

3 responses to “Becoming a Smarter Runner

  1. Pingback: Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon Training Week 2 | Stepping Out

  2. Pingback: Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon Training | Stepping Out

  3. Pingback: 12 Miles Revisited | Stepping Out

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