Coaches of the running athlete are particularly challenged when it comes to the topic of pain and injury.
First there is the challenge that when a human chooses to pursue a repetitive physical endeavor, there will be a risk for injury. And repetitive physical endeavors come in many forms. I remember straining a facial muscle in high school while playing the trumpet. A friend who is a violinist once developed tendinitis in her arm from practicing. My friend who is a carpenter has bursitis from using electric tools.
Second, there is the challenge of the reality that we each have different perceptions of pain. Using a perceived pain scale of 1-10 to rate pain, one personâ??s unbearable pain may be anotherâ??s mild pain.
Third, there is the challenge of defining the word â??painâ?? itself. Typically characterized as â??badâ??, the word pain is actually a runnerâ??s best friend, because it is the â??feedbackâ?? we need to keep our training on track. In other words, pain, when used as feedback, can actually be â??goodâ??.
According to various epidemiologic studies, between 27% and 70% of recreational and competitive distance runners can expect to be injured during any 1-year period.
The wide range in the results of these epidemiologic studies may be attributed, in part, to differences in the definitions of the terms â??â??runnerâ??â?? and â??â??injuryâ??â??.
Typically, a â??â??runnerâ??â?? has been defined as a person who runs a minimum distance per week (12-18 miles and up) on a regular basis, and has been running consistently for some minimum period of time (1 to 3 years is cited typically).
The definition of â??â??injuryâ??â?? also varies between studies; however, a common definition for a running injury is a musculoskeletal ailment that is attributed to running that causes a restriction of running speed, distance, duration, or frequency for at least 1 week.
To get right to the point, each of our Race to Bayshore Runners is having a very typical experience in their journey toward a time specific goal, and they are learning how valuable â??painâ?? is to help them fine tune their training.
How â??painâ?? is helping Marc
We knew from the start Marc would have to be proactive and pay close attention to his hamstrings (long muscles in back of upper leg/thigh). And he has done a great job of following instructions to focus on pre-hab base exercises and to give constant feedback to Steph and Dena at Excelerate. This week, Marc continues to progress with his training, but special care and attention is being given to both stretch and strengthen areas related to proper hamstring function.
Marc described the feedback from his hamstrings as â??twingesâ??, and was able to use this information to help him take extra care through rest, stretching and strengthening all areas related to hamstring function.
Marcâ??s training week
Like many of us living up here who want to get away from the cold and snow, Marc will be traveling with his family, and needs to adjust his schedule for this. His schedule will allow for both travel time and dedicated family time.
Also, runners from the north who vacation in warm climates often feel sluggish in the heat because it takes about 2 weeks to adjust. Many of us donâ??t have long enough to adjust while on vacation, and have to be prepared for the runs to feel not so great.
So Marc can keep up a schedule while on vacation, and also use training to ease the stress of sitting in a car all day, we will move some days around in the week ahead. We can also back off on mileage a bit without any concern. If he canâ??t run some days, not a big deal this week.
Vacation Running 3/18-3/24:
Tuesday: 5 m run at relaxed pace, Prehab focused to balance out
Wednesday: 12 mile run, at about 8:15-8:30/mile
Thursday: 8 mile at goal pace â?? NOT faster than 7:26, make sure to cool down and refuel and re-hydrate right away.
Friday: 3 mile run to loosen up before or after driving.
Saturday: 3 mile run to loosed up after driving
Sunday: 8 mile at comfortable pace
Laurenâ??s Wandering Pain
Lauren is getting feedback pain that moves around, but is staying to one side. Dena will help her get to the bottom of this, and has her keeping up her cardio up by matching the time aspect of her training. The benefits of non-weight bearing cardio are helpful in both injury recovery both emotionally and physically.
Lauren will use pain as feedback and will â??go to townâ?? with any cardio as long as it does not re-create the same pain she has with running. For example, rowing, cycling, swimming, elliptical, steps, etc. are all great activities Lauren can use at her gym. With 9 weeks remaining, Lauren has time to get to the bottom of things. Plus, there are many great half marathons she can pursue if Bayshore doesnâ??t work out. One month later is the Glen Arbor Solstice Half in June
Iâ??m having Lauren go back to Week 4 for her training durations to shoot for on alternative cardio equipment:
Laurenâ??s Match the Run Duration: 3/18-3/24
Note: alt means match the duration of a run of this length
Tuesday: 4 m alt
Wednesday: 5 m pace (9:09)
Thursday: 4 m alt
Saturday: 19 m alt
Anneâ??s Back on Track!
Anne had a successful and educational week and is back on track!
Anne is a great example of how our running/exercise program can be a great â??barometerâ?? of whatâ??s going on in our life, and how lifestyle can impact our physical health.
We all may identify with Anne when she reported to me last week with neck pain that affected her motivation to get out for her runs. It was a â??kinkâ?? kind of muscular pain that really concerned her, enough that she went to see a chiropractor who treated her and then said she should not run.
And that leads us back to our topic on pain! As a coach, I feel it is important to properly care for injuries that reveal themselves through our running barometer, however Iâ??ve often observed folks make a quick jump to conclusion that running is the problem.
Miriam Webster defines barometer as â??something that indicates fluctuationsâ??. With this in mind, it is often our run that helps show and us identify bigger picture lifestyle habits that should be addressed in addition to our actual training. For example, what shoes weâ??re wearing, the quality of our sleep, our hydration and nutritional habits, our work environment and how weâ??re sitting and using our computers and phones, and the list goes on! These are all factors that could be causing problems we wouldnâ??t discover and thus address unless we used our bodies through exercise.
After a little massage, ultrasound and kinesio-tape (more about that later) Anne finished off with a great week and is ready for more!
Anne 10K, 3/18-3/24:
Monday: walk or XT, Prehab, hip strength
Tuesday: run 20-25 min
Wednesday: Prehab, hip strength
Thursday: run 20-25 min
Friday: walk or XT, Prehab, hip strength
Saturday: 2.5 miles
Sunday: 2.5 miles