Goodbye to Injuries
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.