Marathon Series: Recognising Injury

Wednesday 7 October 2015 by

Stratford, Olympic Park, Running, Training, Marathon, Fitness, #HoBFitness

Welcome back to week thirty six of my Marathon Series, as I blog my way to a marathon – from beginner to 26.2 miles. This week, we’re talking about recognising injury.

Injury is a normal part of a runner’s life. There’s a saying that goes round that athletes are either getting over an injury or about to be injured. The thing is, you can make yourself worse by simply expecting injury. It can affect your training – by putting you off running completely, or making you run awkwardly in an attempt to protect a weak spot.

For me, it’s my knees. I suffer from IT Band issues which gives me terrific referred pain in my knees and hip flexors. I even get woken up by the pain sometimes. And this makes me nervous of running. But then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – by being nervous of the pain, I catch myself when I should push myself further, I avoid running when I should be training.

So how do you know when you’re really injured and need rest and recuperation, and when you’re being too cautious?

I can’t give you a straight answer. Only you know what your body is capable of. I use yoga to keep my muscles flexible and prevent injury, but I also pay attention to my body when it says enough is enough. I give myself an extra day of rest instead – chilling out in front of Netflix instead of tramping the lamplit streets.

Knowing when it’s a serious injury is a different matter though. It’s not about the level of pain, it’s about the level at which it affects your training (and even your day to day life). Don’t pretend it will go away – make sure you get it checked out by an expert as soon as possible, and you’ll find yourself back on track for your training in no time.

I’m terrified of getting injured. I’m nineteen days away from the biggest race of my life. I’m avoiding runs and freaking out at every twinge in my body. But rather than let it get the better of me, I’ve rationalised the pain, chosen different days to run, and upped the yoga. In nineteen days, I will be on that start line, injury free.

How do you recognise injuries? What do you do to prevent them?

Don’t forget to let me know how you’re getting on, using the hashtag #HoBFitness. And check back in a soon when we’re talking about The Fear!

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