October 10, 2012

Injury prevention 101

After resting my foot from impact exercises for two and a half days, I ran five miles Monday night and didn't feel any pain. I was all ready to kiss my little foot tweak goodbye, but the next day, the ankle of my misbehaving foot was a little sore. So I decided to cross train on the bike even though I had planned to do some slower, rest miles outside. Being patient is hard. Give me a cookie right now.

I also realized that I forgot to ice it on Monday, so after Tuesday's biking, I iced (and iced and iced again) after I got home from the gym. 

Today there was no pain, so I opted to jump into this week's scheduled tempo run: warm up for a mile, 8 miles @ 8:12, then cool down for a mile. There was no pain during the run, unless you count me barely being able to walk because of Monday night's Body Pump class, which somehow hurts worse today than Monday or Tuesday.

Again, when I got home I iced like a maniac, so hopefully I am good for some sort of easy run tomorrow.

Because of the injury, I've been looking at my last few weeks of training to try and figure out where things went wrong. I screwed up in several areas, so to remind myself to quit screwing up (good luck with that one, self), I wanted to make a list of all the things that send me over the edge if I skimp on them. So here it is.

How to avoid injuries 101

1. Stretch -- this includes before a race (after warming up) and after. Also, at least one yoga class per week would really help. 

2. Strength training. The easiest way for me to fit this in is through a scheduled gym class, but if I do Body Pump (a one-hour class of weight training), I have to do it at the beginning of the week because it takes me a whole week to get over the post-class soreness in time for a long run. Over time it wouldn't be as bad, but because I've been out of the habit for a while, I am in the extremely sore zone after a class.

3. Don't do speed work the same week as a race. Inevitable when I get injured, I can look back and see that I doubled up speed work with a race. Races are speed work if you race them, so note to self, quit trying to fit in speed work the week before and after a race. It spells trouble for your legs.

4. Ice. Before this week, I looked at icing as optional, but now, I see it as a must. It's helped my foot tremendously during this iffy period. Plus I like this technique that one of my e-friend's shared:

This is similar to advice I just read in Advanced Marathoning, where they also said if you don't have two buckets, try alternating hot and cold water in your shower. 

5. Sleep. This is pretty much the hardest one for me because I love to stay up late. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., I feel more creative and energetic. Possibly because the kids are asleep and I can finally get some junk done, but I also think that I'm just wired (not from caffeine because I don't drink any on weekdays) that way. Last night I went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up at 7 a.m. It was glorious. Not only does sleep allow your body to recover, but you make better decisions (see #3) when your mind is rested. So I have to fight my natural inclinations and go the freak to sleep. 

6. Take vitamins daily. I have been bad about skipping them lately, but I know my body needs all the nutrients it can get. As well as eating some healthy grub, I need the extra boost I can get from vitamins, especially the added iron. Training takes a lot out of our bodies -- like minerals are literally dripping out with our sweat -- so we have to give it back. 

What would you add to the list? 

Are you good at getting enough sleep? Tell me your secret to doing that!

And in case you haven't smiled today, here's an awesome sign that I found taped to my neighborhood stop sign. There's a reward out for a lost iPad. The reward is if you find it, you just got a free iPad. 

My first thought was isn't lost iPad just a polite way to say stolen iPad, and my husband at the same time said out loud, "That sign is just gonna make people start looking for that iPad." He also mentioned that he was glad they included a picture in case we weren't sure what an iPad looks like. Let me know if you need directions to my neighborhood.