Making of Lemonade
My Struggle thru injuries to get back to running
I love running so very much. Running for me is like meditation. I get to enjoy the nature, detox the brain, makes me happy with the endorphins and allows me to think clearly about my work etc. I have always been the middle of the pack runner chugging along miles
Back in August 2018 I became victim of a very common running injury, called Plantar Fasciitis. Even though it is a very common injury its very, very annoying. I had to completely stop running after multiple doctor vistis. Most painful part of Plantar Fasciitis is my inability to run. It’s very depressing to see a nice morning and not being able to go out for a run.
Why do we get injured
Running tends to make you very uni-dimensional athlete with same type of movement 10s of thousands steps every day. Injuries are bound to happen to most people due to the repeated stress. I think the primary reason for my PF isn’t any different. I was putting in lot of miles (~40MPW to be specific) without much variety.
My injury lasted for almost 15 months. The following is what I learned from that period. This is more like note to self. However if this article helps some runner I would be super happy.
3 Cs of healthy running
I believe Consistency, Core Strength, Cross Training are the pillars that make up a healthy runner. I will go thru how I used my injury period to become better at these aspects to come back stronger this year.
As I said earlier running is very uni-dimensional. You should always have some cross training to strengthen other muscle groups and give a break for your primary engines of running. This cross training can be any aerobatic activities like biking, swimming or gym training , yoga etc.
Since I did not have the option of running I used most of my injury period on spending time with biking and working out in the gym. While biking kept my aerobic fitness from deteriorating drastically, working in gym helped me strengthen my muscles. More on that later.
A strong core makes you a strong runner. Working out in the gym with those squats, deadlifts and even bench press etc will help you achieve stronger core. When I say stronger core it is not necessarily aesthetics of the core with a 6 pack. It is the ability to stop you from hunching during the later part of your run. My injury period involved at least 4 days of hitting the gym.
Consistency in running is not running every day. In fact it is slightly the opposite. Running every day with same effort is very counter productive. It compounds the repeated stress. What I mean by consistency is, running consistently with variety and cross training. Introduce easy days, recovery days where you run with much easier effort and add workout days where you push the limits. Add different terrains to make your body go thru different stress. For obvious reasons I could not practice any of this during my injury. However most of my post injury trainings included different paces, different activities and different surfaces consistently.
The injury is in fact a blessing in disguise. It made me realize the importance of ignored aspects of my running. I was able to restart my running in late 2019. I started strictly following the 3Cs since then. The proof is in the PRs. I am able to achieve Mile PR and so many others since then. Most importantly I was able to reach my goal of 2020KM in 2020 with 7 weeks to spare in the year.
If you are injured and reading this article, remember injury is an opportunity for you to come back stronger. If life hands you lemons, you, the runner will make lemonade.