Are you training or are you injured?
This is a joke that runners ask each other. I guess this falls into the category of “It’s funny because it’s true.”
As an unbiased observer, I don’t find it too funny. Maybe I just do not have a sense of humor (lot of potential here).
I don’t think injuries are funny especially when they are preventable.
Now you might be out running and get hit by a car; that is not preventable. Overuse/chronic/ nagging injuries are preventable (most of the time).
Recreational and competitive runners alike usually have 1 of 2 common sites of pain.
One is the outside of the knee and one is right above the knee cap.
On the outside of the knee we have the IT Band: A long piece of connective tissue that can get really stubborn.
Just above the knee cap we have the patellar tendon. A site that is not as much of a pain (pun intended) as the IT Band but can still hurt a whole lot.
Most of the time, these two areas get inflamed because of overuse and not enough recovery.
What to do about it
1. Examine your technique
Hop on a treadmill and set up your phone behind you to watch your foot strike. If you run on your toes, it is going to cause your patellar tendon to give you the middle finger in the form of pain. If your knees cave in towards the center of your body then your IT band is going to blow up as a result. There are about 3,000 other potential scenarios but these 2 are basic and common.
If you’re getting all beat up from running, you need to take a break from running. This can be done with strength training, a different means of cardio, or just lowering your running volume. Doing less in order to recover will give you more benefits. Going all out, all the time is the best strategy to hurt yourself.
3. Use the foam roller
Since most people ignore step 2, steps 1 and 3 become insanely more important. The foam roller is a very important piece of gym equipment and it may the cheapest one to buy.
Foam rolling is not an exact science but it works in one of two (probably both) ways. The first is by hydrating the tissue under stress. The second is by shutting off the nervous system signals to relax the area.
For rolling the Quads:
For rolling the IT Band:
For less than 20 bucks you can get a foam roller here. I do not have any affiliation with the company but I think it’s a necessary piece of equipment to own. Rolling the trouble areas when you are watching TV is going to help you recover and get your body ready for the next workout.
Taking care of yourself is going to pay dividends. You will move and perform better in whatever activity you want.
I hate hearing about people that are banged up and that’s the end of it. Sometimes it is as easy as using a cylindrical piece of foam in order to relieve your pain.
Sounds like a better deal than to just keep running through it.