In my last post about two weeks ago I might have forgotten to mention that I felt a sharp pain in my right calf 30 minutes into the run and decided to turn back, running as gentle as possible on frozen snow out of trails. Resting a few days was probably wise, but not running again after only 4 days. But spring was finally here. The winter had been very, very long and slowly the snow and ice were melting. The urge to run was soo strong. It was irresistable. I must have got carried away with the spring in the air and everything. I had only run maybe 5 minutes, eager and joyful with a smile on my face, over steep and tricky terrain when I felt the pain, much sharper now, cut into the same calf. This time it was serious. It was a rupture and impossible to run, I could hardly walk without limping. So straight back home, the easiest way. So much for joyful spring running. Now I’m looking forward to at least a month without running.
But I’m in good company. Statistics shows that about 7 out of 10 runners will suffer from a running-related injury during 2011. And the next year. And the next year… Even though running is considered to boast our health tremendously when it comes to typical lifestyle- and age-related diseases like cardio-, artery- and skeletal diseases, fact is that we are very bad at avoiding running related injuries caused by overuse. Very bad indeed.
In my case I didn’t listen to the signals. In february I had sometimes felt a soreness in the calf, without paying further attention to it, without checking-up on it. For a shoe review I had been running on asphalt with racing flats, several times per week. Appearently not getting enough rest. And – without stretching out properly afterwards, which can increase the risk of rupturing the calf, as I now know.
“Springtime is peak time for running injuries”, said Pierre who owns a specialised running store & clinic in the city. “Everyday we get runners with the typical running injuries, and the running season has just begun. But it’s the same year after year,” says Pierre who has been in the business for 11 years.
“Either they run too much to fast, or with wrong shoes, or old ones with scary tilted angles on the soles. Most of them are heavy heel strikers performing most of their running on asphalt. And since nobody told them about the up to 5-time body weight shock impact for every step, times 140 for every minute they run, they just continue pound the ground without a closer thought to the consequences. No wonder people get injured.”
Finally I want to tell you that I have found a great book about running: “Master the Art of Running – Raise Your Performance With the Alexander Technique” by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields. I will get back to this book in another post, because it has lots of good advice. For now I settle with a quote from the book by Norman Mailer
“Any workout which does not involve a certain minimum of danger or responsibility does not improve the body – it just wears it out.”
By the way, talking about injuries, you have probably heard about the “barefoot injury epidemic” under way. Appearently there is an increasing amount of plantar fasciitis cases at podiatrists and physical therapists in the US. Read more and “be careful out there!”