The first step to obtaining an overuse injury: Move to a place where running is a constant temptation.
After Sunday’s Welcome-To-Juneau sixteen miler, I spent Monday and Tuesday gobbling up runs that were only slightly less gluttonous in mileage.
I returned home this morning and took a quick account of daily aches and pains:
When aches build up, the intelligent decision is to take it easy the next day. Maybe hop on the bike. Swim laps at the pool.
And suddenly, it hit me.
I have no viable cross-training options right now.
Then, I had a terrifying vision of the chain reaction that might follow:
- Ignore and embrace “no cross-training options” realization.
- Fall in love with picturesque trails; chew them up voraciously day after day.
- Maintain typical greediness for daily sweat regimen, despite lack of cross-training options.
- Consequently, immediately run many more miles than body is accustomed to.
- Ignore nagging hamstring hitch.
- Ignore emergent foot pain.
- Ignore unwelcome knee flare-up.
- Research crosstraining options again. Fail to find any that don’t involve a $60/month gym membership or investments in expensive equipment.
- Refuse to take day off.
- Continue double digit runs several days in a row.
- Become offiicially “sore,” in a way that’s more than just sore.
- Keep using terms like “sore” and “slight pain” instead of injury.
- Try to shake out the kinks with a ten mile run.
- Become even more “sore.”
- Forget that “shaking out the kinks” didn’t work last time, and test the pain out with another run.
- Hobble home crying.
- Become injured for three months.
- Become fantastically cranky.
- Spend evenings eating feelings. Become even more cranky.
- Drown in self-pity.
- Consider the possibility of crosstraining by swimming laps in self-pity. Realize that the expression is figurative.
- Hate everything.
And so on, and so forth.
Based on experience, this is what awaits me if I’m not careful. It could be that no crosstraining options emerge for a girl on a budget, so running might officially be my main squeeze now. Take out the crosstraining volume, though, and I might be stupid and attempt to make up the difference by running way more than usual.
How can I preemptively shred my ticket to the overuse injury train?
- Step 1: Don’t be dumb.
- This needs to become my new mantra: “You don’t need to work out every day. You don’t need to work out every day. You. Don’t. Need. To. Work. Out. Every. Day.” I have a tough time submitting to rest days, so I’ll need to be conscientious about not running myself into the ground or else soon I’ll injure myself and a day on the couch won’t even be my choice. This is going to take an inordinate amount of self control.
- Step 2: Bump up the circuits.
- If I won’t have a bike, a pool, a reliable rowing venue, or other traditional cardiovascularly challenging options, then I’ll have to settle for staples like pushups and squat-thrusts. String ’em together in the right way, and I’ll get my elevated heart-rate fix.
To be truthful — and I know this sounds slightly criminal, given my new glorious freedom-of-the-great-outdoors location — I’m secretly hoping I can just find a gym here. Because even though right now it looks like this outside:
Soon it will look like this:
And, if you’re running before or after work, it will just look like this:
For those of you who primarily run all the time, what steps do you take to keep overuse injuries at bay?
Do you have any creative non-gym crosstraining solutions?