There’s nothing that a runner hates more than injury, It’s guaranteed to make your horizons collapse. One minute your running and you’re totally in tune with how your training efforts will translate into racing performance, and the next minute you’re in a hand to mouth existence of “do I run”, or ”do I rest”. It’s impossible to focus on anything outside of the daily run and how it will be affected. Every time you set off out the door you’re so plagued with doubts about whether you’ll actually finish the run, that the impact on your longer term training just doesn’t even register.
I think the risk of injury is the price that the hard training athlete has to live with if he really wants to improve -so how do you deal with it. Of course you try to structure your training to ensure that you minimise the likelihood of actually getting injured. Part of this relates to how you deal with niggles. In a way these are a bit like DOMS, in that with any luck they’ll go away within a couple of days, or failing that they cause you a bit of discomfort, then settle down and fade away – providing that you don’t dramatically increase the training stress. At the other extreme, most hard training athletes have injuries that they regard almost as old friends – they are always with them, usually as niggles but occasionally erupting into more troublesome outbreaks if they take their eye of the ball. Fortunately previous experience of the relationship between symptoms and remedial action gives them the knowledge and confidence to deal with them – in short the runner is able to control them, rather than the injury controlling the training they do. The most problematic type of injury the runner has to deal with is the one that comes from nowhere, or the ignored niggle that erupts into something unexpected. In these circumstances the runner has no experience of cause-effect-response with which he can treat or control the injury. At that point, the disorientation described in the opening paragraph takes over, and the runners training focus starts to unravel. So how do we deal with this type of injury. My experience is that the common sense and reasoned approach that we apply to structuring our training, controlling niggles and keeping recurring injuries under control seems to go AWOL when faced with emergence of a previously experienced problem. In short, when I’m faced with an injury I haven’t had before, I’ve hardly any idea about what approach I should take or how long it will be before I’m running injury free again. I start out thinking that it isn’t going to be too debilitating – a week or so, no loss of fitness, etc, only to find three months later that it’s only after a couple of months of none or very little running and total loss of fitness that I eventually shake it off. What I need in these circumstances is the benefit of hindsight. Failing that, is there any one out there who can give me their experiences of managing injury efficiently to get them back to running as soon as possible.
Posted: 19/04/2007 at 07:57