During the past week, I've witnessed four dedicated women on different days logging long miles with kinesthetic tape all over their legs. All of these women looked very dedicated in their approach to their training. Yet, I couldn't help but feel pain as they ran by. Each athlete had a quality focus towards their effort, but they could be better.
The Why-Taping of any kind is for support or to ease pain. We all witnessed Tiger Woods with his tape on as he competed for part of the 10.5 million dollar purse the Open Championship offered. None of the four women mentioned above will be competing this year for anything close to those types of rewards. So, their taping must belong to some other goal.
Whether their admirable goal is to improve or to achieve fitness, we must first look at what is causing their pain. I would also suggest, what is causing their pain is limiting their success.
What would cause their pain? (the short list)
Old and improper shoes are a symptom normally seen at the high school level. Normally a shoe can take on between 300-500 total miles of activity. There are numerous running sites that suggest rotating shoes for longer wear. So, if your training takes you to two seasons, it's probably wise to change shoes each season. As an example, for high school aged runners who average between 35-40 miles per week or upward for 18 weeks would equal at least 630 miles on a single pair of shoes. Coincidentally, many high school stress fractures happen in the later stages of the season.
Muscle strength and strength imbalances can be the mother of all injuries. If you are not doing some type of strength training, you have to ask yourself Why Not? It can be as simple as using bands or body weight circuits to show some big improvements. I introduced strength training as soon as I started coaching. I reinforce to my athletes that it has absolutely nothing to do with getting bigger. It has everything to do with protecting them from injury. You may contact me if you want help with a body weight circuit.
Routine and surface can be connected here for discussion purposes. If you're running on concrete or asphalt everyday this will most certainly lead you to the pain these athletes were experiencing. Three of the above mentioned athletes were training on a very popular trail, located along the lakefront in a major city by my location. To the city's credit, they continue to add mileage and opportunities to the trail. Although, as they take away the cinder trail that once coexisted along the paved trail, they open the opportunity for more pain and injuries in our athletes. May I suggest running trails, on grass, or running on a track once a week. There are two other great opportunities I would like to offer here as well. One, if you're in pain, take a day or two off. The second, skip the run, go for a swim or run in the pool. You'll bounce back better than you were before the break.
Flexibility. As we increase our training levels, or as we age, we need to work to maintain or increase our flexibility. Lose it, and you'll certainly open the door for injuries. The simplest, stretch after every workout. We all need it, but men need it more than women, although most women are more active in stretching than most men. Myself included. If you want to look for further remedies, using bands or taking a yoga class are highly effective.
Stride maintenance is one key to easily propelling yourself forward. In an early tip I suggested using mini hurdles to improve your stride. Strides also work, as well as up or downhill running. The more efficient and balanced your stride the more potential you have to go faster. The better your stride the less chance you have to prevent injury. Film yourself, have a friend or coach watch you run. It's important, as there are more poor performing strides out there than good. A better stride equates to less effort to reach your goal.
Over training-There are few athletes out there who can pound out 130 mile weeks and not find themselves with some type of injury. There are also very few athletes who benefit from running the same route, the same way, on the same surface, at the same time everyday. Staleness leads to fatigue. Fatigue leads to over training and over training leads to injury. Just like the new stationary bikes coming out, they give you the ability to change your environment, pace, and recovery. We can continue to share bike paths with the bikes, just be a little more creative with the training we do. We just might start seeing less athletes with tape and pain. Then we may start enjoying the sport we love at a healthier level.
Weekly Tip #1
November 6, 2016
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This weekly tip reminds us that the clock is ever ticking towards the end of one year, and the start of a new one. Many of you had great joys in 2017....