Ok, so if you’ll remember in the last post I wrote, I made a comment about the different kinds of pain a runner can experience before, during, or after an activity. I said that after years of running it becomes easier to determine if the pain you’re feeling during said activity is just something to do with a minor issue at the time like muscle fatigue or general aches and discomfort, or is a warning sign for something more serious and that you should stop. Call it Murphy’s Law or karma or whatever but I’m guilty of not heeding my own advice and now I’m paying the price. What happened was I started feeling something weird in my hip a couple of weeks ago and I decided to run through it to see if the problem would go away. It didn’t, so after taking a day off and figuring that with a little rest things would return to normal, I made the fateful decision to go out one more time telling myself that if it was still a problem after my run I’d take a long break until the strange hip ache was gone for good. As it turns out I should have just stayed home. Whatever the problem was I made it worse and now I can’t run at all. My prize for being a moron is that now I’ve got to wait much longer than I otherwise would have until I’m good again.
Call it issues of heredity or maybe personal lifestyle or age or what have you, but for whatever reason when I get some kind of injury it takes FOREVER to heal! When this happened I told my wife that based on recent history I might not be back to normal until 2028! Whatever I’m feeling in my hip, I’m sure that I’d have been back to my usual routine if I was in my twenties, but it’s been about 12 days since my last run and it’s still being stubborn…still not quite sure what the issue is. In situations like this I always wish I had one of those gadgets they use in Star Trek that instantly heals little afflictions like the one I’m dealing with. But speaking of younger people being able to heal quicker, anybody see that documentary on how Connor McDavid was able to recover from that devastating knee injury he suffered after crashing into the goalpost knee-first? He rejected surgery and it’s almost like he willed his ligaments to reattach themselves back together in order to not even miss a game. Yeah, just destroy your knee and then come back even better, eh Connor? No big deal!
Since they haven’t invented a contraption that will fix my problem and since I’m not Connor McDavid (I decided that a career in oil and gas was a better life path than being a pro athlete…well, that and my hockey career ended before I was in Atom, I guess), it means I have to go through the usual rigamoral that involves mainly time and a bit of physio. Most of these things are usually pretty minor and are more of an annoyance than anything. Believe me, annoying injuries are something I’ve become pretty familiar with over the last 5 years and as a result I’ve really begun to buy into the theory of preventative habits and routines.
Anybody that wants longevity and really wants to build a solid foundation for later in life should look at doing things that help to build that base right now. It’s like getting an oil change for your car. Your engine will probably still go for a long time if you never change the fluids, but definitely won’t last as long or as well if you don’t get one on a regular basis. I’ve never been one to stretch but am now seriously considering yoga as something I might start doing going forward. Many of the benefits include improved strength, balance, and flexibilty, increased energy, and can ease or prevent back pain or arthritis symptoms. It’s a little difficult to drop by a yoga studio these days in light of COVID, but there are a multitude of resources on the internet that a person can check out, be it yoga or even just a basic stretching routine.
In addition to stretching, building strength in your legs through weight training is something to consider if you don’t already do it. I have always gone through spurts of hitting the gym but never really kept a routine going for a long time. I saw a sports medicine doctor a while back when my achilles was really causing me issues and he explained that part of the reason for my achilles problems could be due to muscle weakness in my calves. The achillies didn’t have the necessary support and were taking too much of the load from the constant impact of each stride, he told me. I had been skeptical because it seemed like my calves were well toned and strong enough. Whether that was the problem or not, my 4 year on and off battle with achilles tendonitis went away after spending time doing calf raises religiously everyday. He made me a believer! That being said, it makes sense then that increased strength in your quads and hamstrings from excersises targeting those muscle groups would have the same effect on preventing injuries in other areas like your knees or hips. Squats or leg extensions to build up muscle in those areas can only help. Go see a personal trainer if you think this is something you could buy into.
One final thing that on a personal level I think is really important is diet. My typical weight is between 185 and 200 lbs and it’s been sort of a roller coaster ride the last few years as I’ve attempted to drop down to my goal of about 175. My belief is that being so injury prone is related to the fact that i’m too heavy for such an impact based sport. I’ve made no secret of the fact that if the Earth descended into chaos and anarchy and we found ourselves living in some kind of post apocolyptic, dystopian world with roving bands of people scouring the landscape for the last remaining resources, the thing I would miss most would be fast food. Yeah, hands down I’d be most upset that I couldn’t hit up a Taco Bell for a cheesy chili fries, no doubt about it. Diet doesn’t do too much for injury recovery but I’ll go back to my point about weight probably being critical for injury prevention. A balanced diet is ideal, obviously, but I’ve also heard how a plant based, or even a fruit based diet was a life changing decision for some people. Michael Arnstein is an elite runner from New York who talks about his beliefs that changing to a completely fruit based diet was the reason he stopped getting injured. He has a really interesting youtube video where he gives an ultra running lecture to a group of people at some kind of a fruitarian festival and talks briefly about how it’s benefited his running. I know I have a habit of putting youtube videos on my blog posts but I found some of his insights on running really fascinating. See it here, he’s got some great points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vce-pVYIjx8
I think I’ll return the the usual routine pretty soon here which is good because what irks me the most about being hurt is that the current charity SCARS is losing out on some of my donations because I didn’t listen to my body. But as they say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. If anybody has any advice feel free to comment! Thanks everyone!