I break injuries into two types overuse and accidental. Overuse injuries are lapses in training. Training takes patience and planning, and if you upset that with overtraining you are guaranteed injury. It becomes inevitability instead of an outside possibility. Overtraining injuries have familiar names like Runner’s knee, shin splints, and Achilles strain. They visit every runner at some point in a runner’s career like gum on the bottom of your shoe. You notice it subconsciously, but once you see it, I bugs you. You try to pick it out of the tread in your shoe, but there’s always that little bit still stuck there, and it bugs you. You start thinking it is affecting your runs, because it bugs you. They are always there in the periphery of your training. Shin splints scare off almost every student runner on our team. Kentucky is not a running culture, and doesn’t have strong youth leagues like football, basketball, and other team sports. Often we get new runners who have only run a lap or two in gym class if that. We always try to start them off very slowly building their endurance. Seven out of ten of them push too hard too fast and get shins splints. It takes time to get your body used to pounding on the pavement, and new runners don’t understand all the factors that go into healthy running. The pain scares new runners away from the sport. It is always good to explain to new runners the difference between pain versus aches. Pain is sharp and sudden. Aches grow from wear and lessen. Shin splints are a drag, but the runner can control the recovery much more than sickness. Experienced runners get the same types of repetitive injuries as they change intensity or frequency of workouts. Accidental injuries are more like flukes. They can be avoided to a point. These injuries are like rolling an ankle in a race. You can avoid it, but you are focused on other things. Accidental injuries surprise you. I think they are more common in other sports, but running has its share. With so much force traveling through ankles, knees, and hips, stability can be a tough to maintain.
Being sick is a bazillion times worse. A cold is the most daunting thing for me to face. A cold affects your breathing, and that’s the worst feeling when running. You can get air through your nose or mouth like you’re drowning. Good running starts from your breathing, since most people sync their breathing with their strides. I read an article about breathing and cadence that suggested using a 3 step inhale with a 2 step exhale. I have tried to adopt that model and have found it is good for me when I can maintain it. Breathing helps relax and fuel your muscles. When your breathing is off, you’re run derails. You can run with achy legs, mild sprains, etc., but you cannot run without breathing. So when your head aches, your nose is dripping snot, and you can’t stop coughing, you have to take time off. And it drives you a little bit crazy, for each day you can’t run. I’m on Day 3 of the cold. I am slowly going insane.