Running Injury

Fitness Friday: “Toning” workouts and a running injury returns

fitnessfridayHappy Friday, friends!

As I explained a few posts ago, I finished my 8-week muscle and strength building program (which did help put on some baby muscles!) and started the Tone It Up Bikini Series this week.

I was skeptical about the Bikini Series workouts, because they looked like fluffy women’s fitness magazine workouts with lots of body weight exercises and strength training (or “toning” moves, as they call them) with tiny pink dumbbells. Now, that’s not going to do a whole lot to build muscle or make you stronger. But it’s a good place to start of you’re a beginner and not ready to get into true strength training. While online videos and DVDs are fine for body weight and light dumbbell exercises, I think proper strength training requires the assistance of a personal trainer or coach to ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly, so a) you don’t injury yourself, and b) you actually benefit from the moves. That said, there’s certainly a place for lighter, Pilates-type exercises. They do a good job of working your core and your ancillary muscles (triceps and biceps, etc.), and are particularly great if you’re rehabing an injury and can’t do heavy lifting or more intense exercise.

Anyway, here’s what my week of workouts looked like: (more…)

The RAD Roller – My review of RAD Roller’s 3 unique self-massage tools

Foam rolling is one of those things I know is beneficial (especially during marathon training) and often recommend to my strength and conditioning clients, but struggle to do myself. Yes it can hurt sometimes, but so can running intervals. And so can injuring yourself because you failed to work out those knots and kinks that caused your running form to break down over time.

rad roller review

That’s why when professional triathlete Dan McIntosh reached out to me to review his RAD Roller system, I jumped at the chance. I have one of those big foam rollers with the dense foam wrapped around PVC pipe, but hardly use it because a) it doesn’t really get into the spots I need it to get into, b) it’s not very portable, and c) I’m too lazy to prop myself up on it after a long run. After a full week of workouts, I want the foam rolling part to be easy, not challenging. And since you often need to use your upper body and core strength to foam roll properly, sometimes I avoid it just because I’m too tired to do it. (more…)

A seated upper-body workout for a lower-body injury

Seated upper-body teaserBeing injured sucks.

But it especially sucks if you’ve been training for an event, such as your first Boston Qualifying-attempt marathon, when a lower-body injury occurs just five days before your race.

If you’re lucky, it won’t be too serious and you can bounce back within an month. You may have to miss your race, but at least you can ease back into training sooner once you get the A-OK from your physiotherapist or doctor. Other times, you might be sidelined for 12 weeks or more, depending on the type of injury.

Being sidelined is hard, especially when running or exercising in general is your natural state. Although complete rest with physio and other rehab methods (such as IMS, massage or chiro) is best, you may be cleared to do some upper-body exercises if you happen to be dealing with a lower-body injury.

Because I am not an athletic therapist and because certain injuries require certain means of recovery and repair, I can’t tell you specifically what to do to help you return to training. But I can share some general injury recovery guidelines and a sample seated upper-body program you could bring to your physiotherapist or doctor and check to see if you’re clear to try something like it (but modified, of course, based on your injury).

This is a program I’m doing right now with one of my clients who has a severe knee injury. While this program was cleared and given the A-OK by his doctor, it might not be suitable for you. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially when injured. (more…)

How to maintain your fitness (and recover properly) when injured

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks.
Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

You’ve finally found your exercise groove and are just starting to notice a change in your body when BAM — you get sidelined with an injury. As frustrating as it may be, especially if you were training for a race or other event, getting injured doesn’t mean all your hard work for the past few months was for nothing. Though rest for proper repair is crucial, there are some things you can do during the latter stages of recovery to help you bounce back quicker.

In general, it takes about two to six weeks for muscles to atrophy (meaning you lose some of the gains in strength and size you’ve acquired from your training). However, when you return to training, the rate of strength reattainment is high, meaning your muscles will “remember” their previous state and will bounce back quicker. Although you may be tempted to start training as soon as the pain stops, it’s important to follow instructions from your doctor or physical therapist in regards to when you can start light activity again. If you were an athlete on a team and I was your strength coach, your doctor or athletic therapist would give me a form with your indications (what you can do) and contraindications (what you need to avoid) on it so I can best help you return to training. (more…)

So I finally went for a run yesterday…

I think this was from early in the race as I don't look like I'm dying yet.

I think this was from early in the race as I don’t look like I’m dying yet.

It’s been two whole weeks since the marathon. One week of complete rest and two weeks of no running.

I’ll admit, the whole not-running part has been a welcomed break. Though my foot didn’t hurt after the race and I didn’t end up breaking anything (thankfully), I can tell my body needed a break. The pads of my feet were actually quite sore, and my legs just felt tired and achy.

Of course, after a week of doing nothing, I got tired of sitting around and jumped right back in to weight training, picking up where I left off before taper.

Bad idea.

I definitely lost a lot of strength, and a workout that wouldn’t have cause any DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) before caused me to hobble around for days. For DAYS. At least I know my programmed workouts are effective 🙂 (more…)

Marathon recovery and how I plan to spend my “post-season”

IMG_0072

Definitely could not walk after the race!

It’s been four days since the marathon, and I’m still shuffling like a zombie.

Thankfully my foot is not hurting, and that weird ache I had is no longer there. I haven’t tried running, of course, so I don’t know for sure if it’s gone or just shifted to another part of my foot. Once I’m recovered and can actually go for a jog to find out, I’ll head to a sports doc anyway just to make sure.

So far my recovery plan has been to do as little as possible. I’ve never been this sore after a race before — usually I would have been stretching and foam rolling by now, but I can barely walk let alone put any pressure on my legs. I think today I might be able to stretch and do some light foam rolling, and hopefully stop popping the Ibuprofen. (more…)

5 days to go until the marathon… and guess who gets injured?

Stupid feet.

Stupid feet.

Of course. After a solid 17 weeks of training, guess who gets injured during taper? This girl.

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but my guess is either plantar fasciitis or a stress fracture, based on the dull ache in my instep, arch and top of my foot when I start running. The ache continues during the first part of my run, comes and goes throughout, then comes up again once I stop running and start walking. During the rest of my day I don’t feel anything.

No, I have not been to a physiotherapist or doctor, and yes, I’m self diagnosing. To be honest, I haven’t had a spare moment in the last few weeks to make an appointment and also cannot afford to see a specialist right now. I am covered by my work, but don’t have the cash to front for an appointment at the moment. I am a penny-less writer. So, Dr. Google to the rescue! (more…)

It’s time for an action plan

My YouTube debut. Thankfully, Dave was nice enough not to film me walking.

So it turns out I did actually tear a calf muscle. At the insistence of Kirsty, I went and made an appointment with Dr.Mike to get it checked out. That was my first time going to see a specialist for anything sports-injury related, and now I know why Kirsty didn’t tell me much about what to expect.

Active Release Therapy HURTS. Dr. Mike busted out this metal spatula device and started scraping my calf, like one might try to scrape the blackened burnt part off a piece of toast. But more violently.

Then he dug his thumb right into the torn muscle and asked me to FLEX my foot, which is something that hurt to do anyways, let alone with a thumb digging into the muscle. “Go go go go go! Pull pull pull!” I felt like a Biggest Loser contestant at the mercy of Jillian Michaels the way my face was contorting in pain.

But then I hopped off the table, and I could walk without a limp. I had zero pain in my calf, and haven’t felt pain in it since. Dr.Mike works (painful) miracles.

A few other pointers he gave me: You started out to fast. Get a coach, train properly. Six half marathons in one year is too much. No running for two weeks. Take up swimming and do some light cycling. You should be good to go for the Bear Mountain 10K  in November (yes! — that’s all I needed to hear).

So now my plan is to join a marathon running group and a triathlon club in January. I also need to take swimming lessons and get a proper bike. I signed up for the Gunnar Shaw as well, an off-road 10k at Thetis Lake in November that takes you through mud pits and freezing lake water (already bought some sweet trail running shoes for this adventure from MEC!), and have my sights set on doing the Island Race Series and another marathon in the spring.

Nothing helps to heal a running injury more than coming up with a new action plan — well, to help to mentally heal, anyway.

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