Good­bye to In­juries

Canadian Running - - EDITORIAL - Michael Doyle, Edi­tor-in-Chief @Cana­di­anRun­ning

Irun a lot, which, for me, means I’ve had a lot of “is­sues.” I pre­fer to call them is­sues in­stead of in­juries be­cause, well, like so many other run­ners, I tend to live in a state of de­nial, forg­ing on with my run­ning un­til one of those is­sues turns out to have been an in­jury in wait­ing. Over the years I’ve bat­tled (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der): I T band syn­drome, run­ner’s knee, shin splints, plan­tar fasci­itis, a strained hip f lexor, two torn solei ( yep, that’s plu­ral for soleus, a.k.a. my least favourite calf mus­cle), strained ham­strings, strained quads, metatarsal­gia, Achilles ten­donitis, Morton’s neu­roma, sci­at­ica and a bro­ken rib. I’ve never had a stress frac­ture that I know of, but I’m sure a bone scan would re­veal some old trauma that I some­how man­aged to run through with­out my legs break­ing apart.

My laun­dry list of past “is­sues” is prob­a­bly not that dif­fer­ent from yours. Most run­ning-re­lated in­juries come from re­peat­ing the same stresses over and over again with­out mak­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate cor­rec­tions. As run­ners, our stub­born­ness is both an as­set (who else would get up at 6 a.m. in Jan­uary to run for 90 min­utes be­fore go­ing to work?) and our own doom. The most com­mon rea­son for our in­juries seems to be mad­ness – we keep do­ing the same thing over and over, ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent re­sult.

Sharon Crowther’s story on the po­ten­tial for an in­jury-free fu­ture (p.62) reads like the prom­ise of eter­nal youth. Could sci­ence save all of us from our­selves? Re­search and tech­nol­ogy have cer­tainly changed run­ning over the years. We’ve gone from a rudi­men­tary un­der­stand­ing of how to train and treat in­juries to a nu­anced ap­proach that in­cludes run­ning watches that can tell you your VO2 Max and re­quired re­cov­ery time (p.72). Sci­en­tists like the pro­tag­o­nist in Crowther’s story have de­vel­oped the tools to­day to de­con­struct what’s caus­ing an in­jury and why, so that you may hope­fully fix it as you con­tinue to run.

When I i magine an in­jury-free fu­ture, where the mo­ment I st art get­ting lazy in my stride my watch gives me the proper feed­back and I’m able to make those cor­rec­tions, I re­al­ize some­thing: that laun­dry list taught me a lot about what kind of run­ner I am – and what kind of per­son I am as well. In­juries force you to take stock in what you’re do­ing and chal­lenge you to be more hum­ble, to ac­cept that you aren’t al­ways do­ing the right thing, and to fig­ure out how to be bet­ter at what you are do­ing. In­juries re­mind you of the value of a rou­tine, good health, the friend­ships you’ve formed with other run­ners and of how sim­ple yet pro­found it is to just be in your own head for an hour, run­ning in a for­est. In­juries re­mind you of how im­por­tant run­ning is to your life. I hope that in this mag­i­cal post-in­jury utopia we’re about to en­ter that we’ll fig­ure out ways to stay hum­ble and take stock in the power and im­por­tance of a sim­ple run. But I gotta say, I won’t miss IT band syn­drome.

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