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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:

Daily aches denoted by scientific red lines. Gnarly feet, huh?


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:

  1. Ignore and embrace “no cross-training options” realization.
  2. Fall in love with picturesque trails; chew them up voraciously day after day.
  3. Maintain typical greediness for daily sweat regimen, despite lack of cross-training options.
  4. Consequently, immediately run many more miles than body is accustomed to.
  5. Ignore nagging hamstring hitch.
  6. Ignore emergent foot pain.
  7. Ignore unwelcome knee flare-up.
  8. Research crosstraining options again. Fail to find any that don’t involve a $60/month gym membership or investments in expensive equipment.
  9. Refuse to take day off.
  10. Continue double digit runs several days in a row.
  11. Become offiicially “sore,” in a way that’s more than just sore.
  12. Keep using terms like “sore” and “slight pain” instead of injury.
  13. Try to shake out the kinks with a ten mile run.
  14. Become even more “sore.”
  15. Forget that “shaking out the kinks” didn’t work last time, and test the pain out with another run.
  16. Hobble home crying.
  17. Become injured for three months.
  18. Become fantastically cranky.
  19. Spend evenings eating feelings. Become even more cranky.
  20. Drown in self-pity.
  21. Consider the possibility of crosstraining by swimming laps in self-pity. Realize that the expression is figurative.
  22. 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:

Try running on those trails. Time to bust out the snowshoes.


And, if you’re running before or after work, it will just look like this:

Perfect headlamp conditions!


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?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. 08/31/2010 17:41

    i have sooooo been there and done that with the overuse thing. i wish i had good advice to tell you though! i tend to run way too much and through things that i shouldn’t. i guess for me the best thing is to make sure i’m eating right and enough. and sleep enough. both of which are being a semi-fail at the moment! must. get. better.

    awesome picture too 🙂

  2. 08/31/2010 18:05

    No advice here! I ignore the pain 😉

  3. Pat permalink
    08/31/2010 19:51

    Salsa dancing..

  4. 09/01/2010 02:23

    Oh, young grasshopper, I’ve been in your (achy, smelly, too-many-miles shoes), and trust me – we both know you’re being smart to stop “shaking out” with a 16-miler before walking to the convenience store becomes painful. Although I do feel for you, even with your incredible new home. I’m actually about to go aquajog with New Jersey’s Social Security set (what happens when my knee acts up), so I feel you so, so well. Besides pushups, which were my first thought, try browsing Craigslist or the supermarket ads for people selling cheapo workout equipment. I have no idea if there is Craigslist for God’s country, but there must be some kind of classified ad place.

    • 09/05/2010 12:16

      Coincidentally, craigslist HAS made it out to the last frontier. Checking it out for cheapo equipment as we speak! Thanks for the tip, sensei.

      I’ve done a bit of aquajogging in the past, and I think it’s a nice alternative. Swimming, too. Most of the swimming locales around here would involve certain hypothermia, but I may be able to scrounge up a pool…

  5. Lacey permalink
    09/01/2010 05:13

    Hi there!! I found you through some of the other blogs I read. You have to get a jump rope. Jump roping is the BEST. I started by doing sets of 100 in a row. Then 300 in a row. Then 500 in a row. Or you could go for time. Anyway. It rules. Also yoga. Lots of sun salutations will get your HR up esp if you don’t hang out in downward dog. Lots of lunging incorporated into warriors, etc.

    • 09/05/2010 12:19

      So true on the jump roping. Maybe I’ll just pretend I have a rope and jump around instead. Nothing shoots the HR up like regular old jumping around! It’s funny how easy it is to forget that.

  6. 09/01/2010 07:03

    I don’t cross train. Ever. I lift, but that doesn’t count. In 20+ years of running I’ve had one injury that has cost me more than a couple days.

    Ya know how I do it?

    I run SLOWLY on easy days. ;p Like, really slow sometimes. And when I’m running through a foot of snow, I am pretty sure I can walk faster. (Hell, I know I can.)

    Works for me!

    • 09/05/2010 12:21

      Wow. Wow. The prospect of not cross-training is sort of blowing my mind. I feel like I will get bored. Not even just injured, but bored. Is that wrong? Maybe I’m not a real runner. I definitely go slow on my slow days, too. The problem will be drawing up some kind of training plan that incorporates them, so that I’m not just doing whatever I want.

  7. Lori permalink
    09/01/2010 17:00

    I liked the automatically generated ad by google entitled “HIP SURGERY” at the bottom of the post at 8:50 EST.

  8. 09/02/2010 05:10

    I’m not good at cross-training… I have the INSANITY DVDs and a Jillian one, all good workouts, but I’m not quite Little Miss Motivated To Workout In The Living Room very often.

    You could get a set of FitDeck cards, they’re inexpensive. Really you probably don’t need them–they’re pretty standard bodyweight exercises. Just make up a list like your pushups, squats and make up workouts with them. Max reps in 1min, circuits, etc.

    • 09/05/2010 12:23

      Oh man, I already use a standard 52 deck of cards for circuits! It’s great. I didn’t even know those existed! I’m starting to wonder how long it will be before I break down and get some kind of fitness DVD. I’m hoping to hold out. I seem to do well just blasting the tunes and putting together circuits on my own… but as you said, it’s a matter of being motivated to doooo it….

  9. 09/02/2010 11:36

    I have to cross-train, at least right now. Or take a day off completely, which may suck even more. If you do get an overuse injury, try to plan it for winter.

    • 09/05/2010 12:25

      Hahaha, yeah, I’ll pencil it in for January. Better yet, I’ll suck it up and learn how to take days off again without freaking out.

  10. Katyfromhighschool permalink
    09/02/2010 13:51

    Hi Sweaty Kid! I know it’s been awhile but I saw your latest post and had to comment. I have been teaching Pilates these past few years and while I haven’t noticed a huge change in my racing time, I have noticed a considerable better ability to walk the day after a race. I would suggest trying some Pilates tapes for a day off workout. If done correctly, Pilates is an awesome workout and can get your heart rate up in tiny intervals. My preference for Pilates tapes are those by STOTT Pilates–they tend to achieve a better all-over body workout that continually challenge you.
    Good Luck with the cross training!

    • 09/05/2010 12:30

      HI!! Wow, when I am back on the east coast I need to come take a class. Now I’m spying on you online and looking at your instructor profile. How exciting! We had to do pilates in college for rowing, and it was so freaking hard for me, possibly because I am a baby. I actually did a pilates DVD this summer, and was only overcome by the desire to punch the television twice during the entire 60-minute video… which is promising. Thanks for the tip. I added STOTT pilates to my computer sticky note of cross-training options. 🙂

  11. Murdoch permalink
    09/04/2010 06:41

    Try taking 2-3 days of just 3 miles real slow. Usually when im feeling tired thats what i’ll do to get feeling good again. Or you could just take a couple of days off.

    • 09/05/2010 12:32

      Ahh, it is so nice to have rest days/days off validated by an intense/wicked good runner like you. I’ll do my best with the easy days when I need ’em…

  12. 09/06/2010 16:46

    haha….i’m HORRIBLE at taking time off! even though it’s worth it, even though i run much better when i allow my muscles to recover, it’s such a struggle!

    i was having quad troubles for a while, but now i’m running full time in my compression pants. that seems to be the trick. also, i switched from a high stability sneaker to the Nike Free Run, which is supposed to simulate barefoot runnning. so far so good!

    lookin forward to reading more of your blog 🙂

    • 09/06/2010 18:26

      Yeah, I’m getting excited about the idea of incorporating more restful/off days now that I’m basically gonna be running full-time. I snagged a pair of Frees recently, and am loving alternating them in with my regular trainers. All my “big leg” muscular aches dissolve when I’m in the Frees — it’s really cool. I’ve been fascinated by the effectiveness of compression gear for awhile — so cool that it’s helping with the quad pain — hope to read more about your experience with it on your blog!


  1. Another lazy Sunday in which running was the most exciting and worthwhile thing I did. « Sweaty Kid.
  2. Don’t even bother reading this. I’m sick of my own whining. « Sweaty Kid.

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