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Is it possible to have a body not made for running? (Read 1203 times)

aes


    This is a question I ask myself a lot. I am wondering because it seems that whenever I try to train at a higher mileage for a half marathon or-like right now- a marathon, aches, pains and everything else seem to pull me down and not allow me to train. I have friends though who run marathon after marathon and they seem to be just fine. Do you think that it's possible that perhaps my body isn't 'the body' for running? Maybe I need to work harder and be more careful in my training? After my first marathon I seriously couldn't run for 2-3 weeks because of the pain. I thought I had ruined my body. Yet, I had trained for 4 months, had done two 20 milers, etc. Granted, there was a lot of elevation gain and loss but it's something I have wondered for a long time. Anyone have an opinion or any knowledge? I'm also nursing yet another injury and am curious. Perhaps it's the uneven cobblestone I'm forced to run on that is tearing me up. I guess I'll find out when I leave Europe and hope on the treadmill in Dubai.
      Hi, Abbie. The problems you are describing sound an awful lot to me like training-related problems. Over-doing it, too-much-too-soon, "no-pain, no-gain" mentality, and running when you should be resting are pretty common causes of aches, pains, and "everything else." What are your goals with running? If you're just interested in staying in shape and enjoying an occasional race or two, you might want to tone it down - a lot - for a half year or so. Work on consistancy and GRADUAL progression and your problems should go away. If you're stuck on doing marathons - as many as possible as soon as possible - you should remember that you'll have a longer and more profitable career if you can keep from getting hurt. Being proactive about injury PREVENTION will serve you better than training as hard as you can now. Uneven surfaces can be tough, yes. Why don't you tone down your milage and intensity for a while? I don't think it's your body. Chances are it's how you're using your body instead. You have to be your own coach - be the coach who plans on keeping her runner around for the next two dozen years and trains her that way - long term view. Janell

      Roads were made for journeys...

      aes


        I guess the reason why I'm frustrated and wonder if I really have a runner's body is because I run constantly. I usually run 5 days a week, around 20 miles or so and then injuries just come out of nowhere. I feel like I'm following all the necessary items such as only increasing mileage by 10 % each week, only 1 tempo run per week, easy days etc. I only run about 3-4 races a year and other than that, I just run for enjoyment. I've already taken off 5 days and it hasn't improved much. I don't want to take off much more because I know that my body needs the time to train. Ugh... it's so frustrating!!
        Mile Collector


        Abs of Flabs

          I think there is such a thing as a body that's made for running. The sprinters have a high concentration of fast twitch muscles; the professional runners have proper joint alignments that allow them to run 100-200 mile weeks without incurring injury. Not all of us are gifted so we'll have to train smarter. Like Wingz said, prevention is criticial. You mentioned that if you get above 20 miles a week, injuries creep in. We all have a limit to how much we run before things break down. Try to increase your distance at a slower rate, say 5% instead of 10%. Also try to have easy weeks every other week by running fewer miles. It'll give your body more time to heal, which might reduce your injury rate. Good luck!
            Sound comments from others here. I would add just a couple--first, I believe you said your first marathon was Deseret News. That is a grueling marathon, and will beat up your body like few others can. There is a reason that, as the oldest marathon in Utah, it also has the fewest runners. It takes more than just two 20-milers to prepare for Deseret News, especially if it's a first. Your quads will ache for days after DesNews--as I'm sure you discovered. And, you knees can pay a price as well. St. George will be a lot more fun, but prepare for the downhill there as well. Not as severe as your first, but a lot of downhill anyway. So, it may help to keep your first marathon in perspective--there are many who don't finish, and generally DesNews would not be my recommendation for a first marathon. Good on ya for, in reality, a great accomplishment. And, when it comes to running, it can take some (most) people a couple of years of establishing a good base before they get through the 'growing pains' of running. What kind of injuries are you having? Hip pain? Foot pain? Leg pain? Stitches? Could be the cobblestones (ouch), could be your shoes (do you know if you need a motion control, stability, or neutral shoe?), etc. There are many experienced runners on this forum, and specifics may help generate some answers you are looking for. BTW--I have a friend who trains almost exclusively on a treadmill for marathons. At some point, you have to get outside and run under "race conditions"--on pavement. And, if you spend a lot of time on the treadmill, it will help if it has a decline as well as incline setting--for St. George, you really want to have some downhill running if at all possible.
            My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
            aes


              Pron8tr--Thanks for your comments and advice. I am finding a lot of solace in speaking with other runners and getting their opinions. My problem is in my hamstring and literally came out of nowhere... or so I think. It just started aching one day and now I can totally run on it but the pain increases with each run and so I'm going to stop for a week or so. I don't plan to do all my training on the treadmill. Only about a month and a half... and only my longer runs. It gets up to 110 F in Dubai and so I can only run at max, an hour in the mornings. When I return to America (Utah) the first part of September, I plan on doing more hill training and getting my quads strong for the downhill of St. George. I'm glad to hear that you feel it was more my marathon and not me that gave me such a not so pleasant post marathon feeling. Thanks for your help.
                FYI. A water running plan for injured runners. Good for all of us when we overdo it from time to time. www.pfitzinger.com/labreports/water.shtml
                My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
                vicentefrijole


                  Hang in there aes! I can understand your frustration... nothing feels as hopeless as being injured when you really want to be out there training hard. But try to keep it in perspective... what are your long-term (life-time) goals? Yes, your current injury may affect your performance at your upcoming race.. but you've got a lifetime of races ahead of you (and they can't all be perfect ones) so learn what you can from this experience and focus on the long-term. That being said, I know I feel just as miserable when I am injured... this too shall pass. Roll eyes In answer to your question, I'm sure there are bodies that are "made for running". However, for the rest of us, there are runner's forums, running clubs, trainers, and books to help us learn to train intelligently. I remember seeing a guy running the Chicago marathon last year who had the strangest running form (running almost pidgeon toed if I recall), and I thought, "there's no way that guys going to make it". But come mile 23, that guy was passing me by... not because his body was made for running (certainly not!) but rather because (I strongly suspect) he trained and ran more inteligently than I. Big grin
                    If it's any comfort at all to know that you are not alone in your ponderings...then please be comforted because I often wonder the exact same thing! I literally feel your pain...I'm currently icing my knees from a tough hill workout I did earlier today, brought to me exclusively by my degenerative joints Smile! When you break it down to mechanics and anatomical differences and deficiencies, perhaps there is such a thing as a body not made for running...I think I have one. No matter what I do or how I train, I am constantly injured. Unfortunately, I suffer from flat feet, knock knees, wide hips, and other general muscular/skeletal issues that probably aren't conduscive to running. Thus, I'm injured almost all year long and have a good regimen of NSAIDs every time I go for a hard run (which may not be the wisest thing). I've been told by numerous orthopaedists and physical therapists to just give it up and find a new sport, but hey, what can you do? You just have to work with what you have and literally take it one step at a time. But honestly, if you include the mind in with the body, which is feasible because a lot of running is all in your head...there might not be a body "not made" for running. You can literally do anything that you put your mind to; any limitations that one puts on themself are likely to actually exist, because they think they do. However, if you really, honestly believe in yourself and in the fact that running is something that you absolutely love and you're not willing to just "give it up," then your body has no choice but to adapt and go the distance. Like everyone has very wisely said, prevention is key -- there is an element of good judgement necessary in any training program, but combined with firm belief in your potential and your identity as a runner, great results can be produced. Mind over matter...as one of my coaches once said, "If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!" Wink. Focus on the positive aspects of yourself as a runner...everyone is different and not everyone may have the same biomechanics, but if you focus on your strengths, they can only get stronger. I don't know if that offered any comfort or helped at all...I often read these forums but am reluctant to post in fear of saying something wrong or stupid, but your question just really struck a chord with me because I've gone through the same thing. I really hope everything works out for you...remember that no matter how injured your body physically might get, you will always have the the steely, unmoving mind and resolve of a runner! Best wishes, and happy trails! Smile


                    Needs more cowbell!

                      I don't know if that offered any comfort or helped at all...I often read these forums but am reluctant to post in fear of saying something wrong or stupid, but your question just really struck a chord with me because I've gone through the same thing. I really hope everything works out for you...remember that no matter how injured your body physically might get, you will always have the the steely, unmoving mind and resolve of a runner! Best wishes, and happy trails! Smile
                      You should definitely post MORE OFTEN! Everything you said is so inspiring and I feel better for having read it. Smile k

                      I shoot pretty things! ~

                      '14 Goals:

                      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                        I agree - speak up, "Spuds!"

                        Roads were made for journeys...

                        vicentefrijole


                          You should definitely post MORE OFTEN! Everything you said is so inspiring and I feel better for having read it.
                          I agree too! I say "wrong or stupid" things all the time... it would be nice to have some company! Wink No really, we're all just "shooting the breeze" so the more the merrier! And your comments here were excellent! Big grin


                          Imminent Catastrophe

                            Just a suggestion that has worked for some injury-prone runners that I know: Get your base mileage with ALL slow, easy runs. That means no tempo, no strides, no anything but slow, aerobic-pace runs. Look at the Higdon plans, even the intermediate ones are all slow runs. It might cause you to run your races a little slower at first, OTOH it might not if it enables you to run without injury. Then, after you establish a good base of high mileage without injuries, you can start mixing in some speedwork. In my opinion the most common cause of training injury is too much faster running. I was running a lot of mileage last year without problems but after I started doing a lot of speedwork I got a stress fracture. By the way, if you are running on cobblestone it will almost certainly cause you problems--not only is it uneven, but it's very, very hard, probably worse than concrete. I've done some runs on European streets with cobblestone and they are very hard on my legs. Another thing you might consider is an orthotic with extra cushioning. I use SofSoles graphite and they really soften the impact on my legs. Good luck!

                            "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                             "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                            "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                             

                            √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                            Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                            Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014