So you are sore, tight, perhaps tired the next day…. welcome to cross -country. As I said in the team meeting on June 6th, this sport is not easy. The rewards are wonderful, but you have to feel some side effects along the journey.
First thought I want to share after reading the RunKeeper comments is this… don’t let minor pain, muscle soreness, tightness be confused as being injured. These can become injuries if you do not pay attention to your bodies needs, but they are also a part of being an athlete in a structured sport that requires you to go out there every day and perform. Athletic stress and strain through training or competition does cause tightness and soreness.
Preventing Running Injuries
Regardless of your running experience, the best advice for preventing any injury is to pay careful attention to any warning signs of an injury.
Do not be a stranger to icing– it can do wonders to relieve the inflammation and allow the blood to circulate afterwards to the area that was iced.
A good hand massage or rolling of your calf, hamstring, and thigh muscles also encourages additional relief and increases blood circulation.
Icy/Hot, any kind of mineral ice, Ben Gay, etc…. they are all products that are meant to make you feel better and assist in recovering. Get out to the store and buy something and use it!
Your diet plays a major role in all of this. If you expect your body to be a part of a demanding sport while feeding it junk food, then you will be one of the first to have injuries. Not to mention the inability to come close to your real potential.
Proper rest and sleep – if you really want to be a runner, then you better be giving your body the opportunity to rest properly by maintaining a balanced sleep each and every day. There are tons of proven research that indicate that simple tiredness because of poor sleeping habits is another way by which you will become injured.
Hydration – yes, that word that you hear all so often – Gatorade and water should be as important to you as the food that you eat.
Replace Shoes as Needed
The different theories about when to replace running shoes can be confusing. The bottom line is there is wear on the soles and uppers, then they also have begun to lose their cushioning and support. Pay attention to your shoes!
Alternate Your Running Shoes
I have suggested more than one pair of running shoes, but I do realize this is a financial matter. But if you can – Alternate the pair that you wear when you run. Running with helps to expose your body and your feet to different stresses and makes you more resilient to any type of stress.
Warm Up Properly
If you need to spend a little more time then I suggested on the summer training guide, then of course increase your warm-up time.
The warm-up before you run is so that your muscles and joints are ready for more effort. Don’t shortchange that part of your training day. It is as important as the practice run itself , post stretch, and warm down. All of these should be looked at as working parts of a machine. If one part is broken, it will cause a breakdown.
Resistance training is a must for the hips, knees, calves, and core. If you have thrown the resistance band that we gave you in some corner of your room, then all I can say is you have no one to blame but yourself. The coaches are trusting everyone to be doing exactly as indicated on your training guide.
Follow the Training Guide
Do not increase your running distance – simply stick to the training guide. This is why most of our runs are by time and not a set amount of distance. You are the judge of what you are capable on a particular day. No one is expecting you to go into each practice in “race mode.” The summer is about getting the distance base in and then slowly trying to raise it as we progress each week. Those of you that have been group or partner running are slowly starting to see that you are covering a bit more distance in the same amount to regulated time. Keep up the great work!
Change Up Your Running Route
Running the same route over and over may expose more stress to specific body regions and therefore to overuse injuries. Explore new routes and new routines. It’s better for your body and helps banish running boredom. Run your courses in reverse loop, or just do a random run.
We just want you all to know that after 3 weeks, a good many of you are looking good. The spirit and enthusiasm is catching. The improvement is showing in many of you. The summer heat is not yet finished beating us up. So take advantage of the good days to compensate for some of the tough ones. Don’t get discouraged and lose focus. All of this is going to make sense starting on August 21st at official practices!