I had forgotten. Imagine that. Completely forgotten how much I love running in the morning.
It was dark. It was early. It was peaceful. The robins chortled quietly in their nests as I trotted up and down the streets of my neighborhood.
When I reached Main Street the peace was shattered by traffic and sirens and lights, but I only had to survive the din for six blocks or so. Then it was back to contemplative running. Although I’m not actually a big contemplater. When I run I count or sing the same line of some old song over and over and over again. I don’t think deep thoughts.
I did, however, have a little time for thinking when I finished my run and was standing in the shower. And what was I thinking? Summer is coming. With it, we all hope to take advantage of the sunshine and ramp up our mileage. Knowing this, how can we avoid injury. Here’s what I do:
#1 To avoid sore knees do wall sits. You know that old drill. Sit against the wall with your hips and knees at 90 degree angles. Sit. Sit. Sit. Gradually increase the length of time you can hold that position. I learned this exercise from Kathrine Switzer who swears she’s avoided knee injury all these years and miles later by including these in her routine. Whenever I feel a twinge in my knee, I return to these. Yay.
#2 To avoid shin splints take shorter strides. Years and years ago I was told that shin splints are caused by overextending that muscle in the back of your calf. I’m not a physiologist so I can’t guarantee that’s true, but it’s always worked for me. Oh, and, maybe try running on softer surfaces. Run on asphalt not concrete (street not sidewalk) or on grass when it’s possible.
#3 And most important of all…Listen to your body. Trust yourself. Take a day off if you’re wondering about a new ache or pain. Take a break from running if you must. Much better to miss a day or two now than a month or two during the best part of the running season – SUMMER.
Anything I’ve missed? Please feel free to let me know. This old broad is always up to adding something new to her routine if it means spending more time on the trails. Thanks.