>General Running>Injury prevention advice as approaching 40-50 mpw?
I've been trying to be sensible and slowly increase mileage over the last year and a half or so. I am aiming to get into that 40-50 mile per week as a regular thing and to finally start incorporating speedwork. I am very motivated to do the mileage and super excited to do the speedwork but I am concerned about getting sidelined by injury.
Currently, I'm doing eccentric heel drops to prevent a mild achilles thing that has popped up before. The last 2 or 3 days I've had some twinges in the back portion of the upper inner thigh and I'm getting concerned about something popping up there, like a hamstring thing or such. I really want to make the push into being more serious but how do I avoid injury!? (in this case, skip the next interval session?)
So, essentially, I am looking for advice from some of the more experienced runners. What are two or three bits of advice you have to prevent injury? (or even specific exercises) What do you wish someone had told you that would have helped you at this point in training?
I would suggest one thing at a time, more distance first (at a slower pace than normal), then once that extra distance is well established, start your speed work.
Well, here's three bits of advice.
It took me almost 4 years of running until I could maintain 40 miles per week. Your body is different.
Twinges are just your body's way of telling you to pay attention to that area. Pain means that you MUST do something different.
Save the speed work until after you increase mileage.
More than any strengthening, more than listening to my conniving, mendacious body, more than anything else, the single change I wish I'd made sooner is splitting easy runs. I think we run about the same pace, so 50 mpw takes 8-9h per week. That meant most of my workouts in a 6-day week were over 1h. With speedwork, I had difficulty recovering on 2d if my easy runs were over 60min. each. Splitting a recovery day allows more volume and more thorough recovery, after I became accustomed to the shorter time between runs.
I'm actively rehabbing hamstring tendinitis but I managed to maintain pretty healthy mileage totals these past 2 months. My PT permitted doubles as long as they were short <40min. because I'd already been doing them for a year. Every body is different, and it may not be practical or useful for you. I'm putting it forward because I wished someone had told me doubles aren't just for fast, 80mpw runners.
Do hill repeats.
Get a foam roller.
This. Add the mileage at a slow pace. Once you are comfortable at the increased mileage, consider adding intensity. Don't rush it.
2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...
Thanks for the advice and reinforcing the principles that I would totally love to bypass but apparently can't. Slow and steady. Mileage first with some strides and hills, stick with that for a good long while. Wait for the serious speedwork (maybe for a good long while). Am I increasing the mileage too quickly? Feels great to run lots. If I cut out the serious speedwork maybe I could hang in the 40s for a while? See how it feels just doing mostly easy miles? I guess I'm hung up on that number as something magical. I have a foam roller but have only used it for the occasional calf/achilles roll when there was a problem. Do people have a "routine"? Like something you do for 5-10 minutes a day to keep the injury away? I know there are a bunch of youtube videos showing how to use the foam roller but I don't want anything complicated which then prevents me from using it at all. I honestly really appreciate the advice, no matter how basic. I feel like this is a little mental (and physical) hurdle I need to get past.
I agree with the add one thing at a time. Higher mileage, not plus intensity until you have a few months. Also, try and be part of a group that tracks mileage/logs. Very helpful to stay honest. I'm 56 and averaged 54 miles per week this year. So, it can be done. Good luck!
Get more rest than normal.
Rest is good. Also,as already mentioned, no speedwork if you're building mileage! The times I've gotten injured have been when I ignored one or both of those rules.
My personal superstition is to do the foam roller every day on problem areas (calves, IT bands, hamstrings) and try to do it for a bit longer, hitting all main areas (glutes, quads, shins...), at least once a week. I also do these core exercises: http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/assets/RT_15min.pdf
For twingey hamstrings, I would back off any speedwork immediately. I've also had good results self-massaging the hamstrings, getting a bit deeper than the foam roller can. Again, just what works for me. ymmv as they say.
If you have the time and inclination, there is a very good book called Anatomy for Runners by Jay Ducharry, including a self-test for you to identify potential problem areas and then exercises to strengthen them. It's the most thorough and most useful book I've read on the topic.
After listen to your body and be cautious, the biggest tips I have are generally add one new stressor at a time, and make sure you aren't running every run like a tempo.
Listening to your body can prevent all manner of things though.
PR's (certified courses)
5K-; 21:45 ; 10K- 45:17; Half: 1:41 --- full : 3:40 (2009)
Distance - 54 mi, 10 hours (2012)
Current Weight: 175 lb
Goal Weight: 125 lb
+1 on the foam roller. Do it preventatively.
Read Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry. I didn't realize how strength imbalances and knots in muscles can affect things like IT bands and hips. I've had IT band problems in the past. The last one stopped hurting when I found a knot in my calf and worked it out after a few days with a foam roller. Paying attention to what your body is telling you when running is part of it. Paying attention to trigger points and tightness in the morning is also a big part of it. I had been ignoring that morning tightness for years. It finally caught up to me.
Strengthening your hips is worthwhile... or at least it has been for me. I can feel a difference in my running. It fixed an imbalance that has been plaguing me all year. My legs also feel a lot stronger while I'm running.
Pay attention to your iron levels. Being a woman affects them. Running more miles affects them even more.
Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!
Am I increasing the mileage too quickly? Feels great to run lots. If I cut out the serious speedwork maybe I could hang in the 40s for a while? See how it feels just doing mostly easy miles?
Speaking strictly for myself, I was able to ramp my mileage up fairly quickly this year by keeping my pace artificially slow. I've been an on again, off again runner for the last four years, and as such, I had some foundation remaining when I started running again this April, and even still, I only managed 40 miles for the entire month. May was a bit better at 54 miles, and June better still at 136; things didn't really get serious until July rolled around and I managed to set a new monthly PR of 218 miles (my previous PR was 170 set back in 1979!), and since then I've managed at least 200 miles per month.
Long story short, if you keep your pace really slow, you should be able to build you mileage reasonably quickly. The good news is that even though you'll be training slow, you'll still be getting faster when you race. Funny how that works.
I would hang in the 35-40 range for a while and let that do its work, trying to be as consistent as possible. You've never maintained that mileage for any length of time before. You shouldn't have to avoid all speed while doing that, just keep workouts on the easy side. Once 40 mile weeks feel just like a normal week then think about increasing from there.
I foam roll my hamstrings and calf muscles 2-3x a week for 15+ minutes. Sometimes my hips, quads and IT band too, if I feel like I need it, but not usually.
Sultan of slug
During my current mileage buildup to come off an injury, I've used Daniels's advice of running a set mileage for 3 weeks before increasing it, and then increasing it by one mile per session that you do each week (so when I'm running 5x/week, increasing by 5 miles). Then stick with that mileage for 3 weeks before increasing, etc.
It takes your body time to gain all the benefits of a certain mileage, so increasing every week isn't necessary. As others have said, maybe milk 40/week for all it's worth, until it's easy, and then increase mileage or intensity a bit. It starts out hard, and then your body adjusts. Once it's easy and your body is itching for more miles or more intensity, ratchet it up a bit.
Don't forget that rest weeks - not just rest days - are valuable. If you increase your mileage or intensity to a very stressful level for a few weeks, don't be afraid to back down by 10-15 miles for a week before continuing. It's during these rest periods that your body rebuilds and becomes stronger.