You may not remember because of my super long blogging hiatus, but after the Baystate Marathon back in October I had to cut back on running because of some hip & knee pain. Well here I am almost 7 months later and I am finally feeling like I am ready to slowly build my mileage back up. After the marathon I tried running and I was having a lot of knee pain so I waited a week and tried again, same thing. I tried taking a week off twice and the pain came back with each run. I finally took a month off from running, but was still noticing some pain. I decided to take a full 2 weeks off from any strength training as well, and this did seem to help. I have just been running slow and easy 2-3 times a week for the past few weeks and although I still have a bit of nagging in my knee occasionally so far I have no pain. I haven't really had pain in my hip, as much as tightness and almost the feeling that a nerve is pinched in my upper glute. The tightness is still present, so I am keeping it slow and easy and low mileage. I have developed a plan, and if any pain returns I will rest and lower my mileage again. I'm not going to go into all sorts of injury details, but that is the basis of it.
So, lets talk about WHY I think I got injured in the first place. Last July I ran a half marathon up in Maine. I hadn't been training much, just kind of running when I felt like it and I had just started building my long run distance again. I took it easy, and ran slow (for me). I think that was smart of me, and if I had just gone back and kept slowly building my mileage I probably would have been fine. Unfortunately that is not what I did. I used the half marathon as a start of marathon training and kept increasing my weekly mileage and my weekly long run mileage from that point. I don't think my body was ready for that. I have read a million times that you run the risk of getting injured if you build mileage too quickly, but clearly it didn't seem to register with me. Another problem I had was I DID NOT listen to my body. My hip started aching about midway through marathon training, I should have backed off a bit. I should have rested, taken a few days or even a week off. But, I just pushed through. Learn from my mistakes people!
I found a great article HERE about safely increasing your mileage. This is a graph from the article:
"Making an intelligent comeback to running after taking time off due to injury requires a gradual approach that some runners might find frustrating, but ask yourself this: Would you rather make slow, pain-free progress toward building a healthy running base, or jump back into running and possibly experience a setback that leads to prolonged pain or re-injury?"
I'm sure you can agree with the statement above from the Competitor.com article that YES it is frustrating to gradually get back to running when it is all you want to do, but it would be even worse to have to take even MORE time off. So, that is where I am at. I am getting back to it slowly, I'm only running 2-4 miles 3-4x a week at this point. Extra achiness or any pain and I take an extra day or run only 2 miles instead of 3 or 4. I miss running so much, and I can tell you all I want to do is just go out for a nice long run. BUT, I know trying that now could lead to more time off in the future. So I'll play it smart, and remember that I will get back to where I was! Well actually I plan on getting better. :)
I did win an entry to the Narragansett Half Marathon from the lovely Nicole over at The Girl Who Ran Everywhere (go over and check out her blog, she is awesome!) So I plan to run that as just a fun training run. So my goal is to slowly build my mileage up to the half marathon and run it just as a slow and easy fun run. My main goal is to be healthy to run Boston 2015. So after the half in the summer I will see how I feel and plan accordingly so I can make it to that starting line.
Have you dealt with any running injuries? How did you make sure that you didn't get sidelined again?