I Better Knock On Wood

Posted: September 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

Good morning!! Ready to take on another day? I am. I just wish I didn’t wake up thinking it was already Wednesday. At least it’s Sister Tuesday, though. I love my Tuesday nights with my sister and the chance to catch up with her every week. I hope you have a good one ahead, too. Make the most of it!

Rewind to yesterday.

I have once again re-worked my workout schedule because it seems like the timing of certain workouts never feels exactly right. I determined a lot of that came from trying to fit in workouts at times I felt less motivated (aka spin class at 5:30 at night) and not having lighter days worked in regularly through the week to feel like I get a break.

Saturday and Sunday both had fairly challenging workouts, so I kept yesterday’s training more manageable with a light leg workout and then a three mile slower-paced run. These workouts were all about keeping my body strong, without overkill.

On my run yesterday, I wanted to keep a ten minute mile pace and it was so weird because I actually had to pay more attention to my Garmin to do so. Or maybe I was paying more attention to my Garmin trying to figure out how much longer I had.

Don’t be fooled by the calm, winding path and the fallen leaves – it was beastly hot out there yesterday! I knew those almost 90 degree temps would come back.

Anyways, I wanted to make sure to keep my pace slower than my normal “comfortable” pace by about 30-45 seconds to focus on the recovery part of the run. I knew I needed it because I certainly don’t want to face injury from pushing hard too regularly.

I got to thinking that I actually have never faced a sports injury and, knock on wood, really hope to stay away from one as long as possible. I like working out too much, so I try to keep a few things in mind to help protect my body, besides my continued need to focus on stretching and foam rolling:

  • Build up intensity slowly. I don’t add on or do too much when starting a new workout plan. When starting my fitness journey post-pregnancy, I focused on things like walking and very light 20 minute weight workouts before building up to running, spin classes, and intense circuits. When choosing a training plan for my running, I went with a plan that built up mileage gradually.
  • Take Regular Breaks. I plan at least one full rest day every week and also scale back my training regularly as well. In running, I will have one week a month that cuts back on mileage slightly or the challenge of my runs to allow my body some recovery. In strength training, I will do more basic workouts at less volume every 2-3 months. Also, like I mentioned earlier in the post, I have regular days during the week at a much lower intensity.
  • Cross. Cross. Cross. I truly think cross training and having variety in workouts helps soooo much. I run. I take spin classes. I occasionally do kickbox, step, plyometrics or another form of cardio with one of my DVDs. Not only does this keep things interesting for me, but it helps my body not get overworked in one particular area.
  • Strength Training Matters. As I study for my personal training certification, I have learned so much about the many specific ways strength training improves the body’s functioning. The way ligaments and tendons are affected. The way bone density improves. The way it can help correct imbalances that could otherwise lead to injury. A whole slew of information that reaffirms my time hitting the weights.
  • Ice Ice Baby. I don’t know how, but ice baths really DO work wonders after a long run or other intense workout. And they really aren’t too terrible to sit through. Just have distractions!!!!

And now I wonder if I shouldn’t have written all that? Don’t want to jinx myself! Ahhhhh!

  • Have you ever suffered a sports related injury? Any insight or lessons you can share from the experience? What ways do you try to keep your body safe?
  • Do you ever worry about jinxing something?

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55 Comments to “I Better Knock On Wood”
  1. I’ve had a few too many running related injuries in the past few years, and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s to ease up sooner rather than later. So many times, I start to feel pain or tightness someplace, and try to run through it, and then eventually have to stop and take a break for a few days (or weeks). I really think the sooner you back off, the sooner you’ll recover!

  2. Great post! I (knock on wood) have never gotten a sports injury either. I like to think when I train, I do it properly! And I also think some people are predisposed to getting injured more often!

  3. Errign says:

    Well, right now, I have at least one pulled muscle in my side that’s preventing me from running (I know I did it running too, which sucks!), and I’m not sure I could have prevented it, but maybe I could have! I am working on being better about stretching and foam rolling in general now that I’m not going to yoga every day.

  4. Khushboo says:

    This post needs a ‘like’ button! I always used to think that ALL my runs had to be at full throttle! Yesterday I had to consciously make an effort to run slower than normal during my warm up and cool down! My new goal is to increase my mileage and I need to remember that requires slowing the pace down rather than burning out too soon! I’m increasing my mileage from 5 to 10 miles and am following a 6 weeks plan…I probably could manage it in less but I really do not want to risk any injury- slow and steady wins the race :) !

    • Tina says:

      Your plan sounds great. Better safe than sorry. And agreed that longer distances need to first happen at a slower pace. That has helped me a lot I think.

  5. Seriously, the temps are CRAZY! I have luckily not been injured in working out, but I do listen to my body and change things up as much as possible. I do think that helps! Have fun with your sister!

  6. it’s funny you mention this, i was just thinking about this last night. i’d like to get into running again early next year, but i’m scared about re-injuring my knee from it again. but then i realized that i was not building up slowly and taking adequate rest days. and when following training plans i would go for 3 times as long as recommended! it’s one of those things where my lungs and heart can go for a while but the muscles in my legs need some help :)

  7. Amy says:

    Great post, Tina! …I suffered through a stress fracture after my very first (middle school track season) foray into running. After that disappointment, I have been extra careful to listen to my body & not push too hard. Also, I had never considered taking an ice bath until I started training for my marathon. … You are right — they work wonders! :)

  8. Knocking on wood over here too – Safe so far!!

  9. Back in high school I ripped all the tendons in my left ankle during volleyball training. I couldn’t walk properly, let alone train, for months! That injury basically ended my ‘career’. ;)
    I couldn’t have prevented it, I think. One of my team mates accidentally bumped into me and threw me off balance. Sh*t happens.
    I do worry about jinxing things! That’s why I didn’t tell anyone about my planned wedding, until the very last minute, as I was afraid of last-minute catastrophes. We did have a few of those anyway, but luckily everything turned out fine in the end. Phew!

    • Tina says:

      I always think I will end up injured from something like tripping over my own two feet. True that sometimes you just can’t prevent injury. Stinks. Glad you healed up okay though.

  10. Amy Lauren says:

    I haven’t had an injury, but I’ve been feeling under the weather lately and I think it’s because of overtraining, so I’m backing off a little. I haven’t run in two days and will probably just do 3-4 miles today. I also found out I have very low calcium, which is scary because of things like stress fractures and that my bones aren’t the bones of a 25 year old, but anyway. I really like your tips too, sounds like something I should be following.

  11. I thankfully have not had a sports injury before, I don’t really believe in jinxing things either :)

  12. Erica says:

    I am SO with you! I’ve never (knock on 1000000 pieces of wood) had an injury. Always makes me nervous! I think cross training is super important!

  13. I had some shoulder injuries while swimming in college; I’ve stayed away from them for a long time by using myofascial release techniques – particularly with a tennis ball – to work out muscle knots, which can pull on joints in nasty ways. And of course all your tips work well, too.

    (p.s. the ice bath works because inflamation is reduced and lactic acid is cleared faster when the blood flow speeds up as your body warms following the ice bath. So it’s not actually the ice itself)

  14. Jess says:

    I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my aches and pains since I started strength training neglected areas of my body that tend to be involved in running injuries–such as eccectric calf raises for achilles tendon issues, and hip strengthening.

  15. Lauren says:

    I agree with all those tips! Strength and cross training add variety to my workouts, and rest days are so important.

  16. Jess says:

    I’ve faced two knee injuries due to running and I’m pretty sure it was due to overtraining and not enough strength training for my legs. That and not stretching enough. Ever since combining barre work (which is all about strength and length!) with my running, I’ve not had any knee pain (knock on wood!) and it’s made such a huge difference! So thankful for good strong healthy knees. Being injured is so tough. Listening to your body is key during recovery and being PATIENT is huge. And we all know patience is not my strong point. ;-)

  17. It wasn’t a running related injury, but I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus while playing volleyball several years ago. It was a terrible, terrible experience. I went up for a swing, and I landed completely wrong, my knee twisted, and I fell to the ground. I had a slight tweak in my back from a few days before, so I think I was overcompensating and landed wrong. It taught me to not push it too much.

  18. Great tips!! I’ve been forced to slow down due to an (impending) hamstring injury. I traded in a few of my daily cardio workouts for long, sweaty yoga sessions. I LOVE IT!
    And I’ve never had the courage to do an ice bath… what are you distractions?

  19. My hip always acts up whenever I run more than three days in a week and/or my mileage gets too high. So, when I keep those things in check, I’m typically good to go, injury-wise:)

  20. This is such a great reminder for me TODAY! Even though I technically know these important things…I wish I could say I apply them!

    I am constantly overdoing it and then I have to pay for it..as I am now with a foot overuse injury.

    Such a great example for us all Tina! Thanks!

  21. I’ve suffered (and still am) suffering from plantar fasciitis brought on my training for my second half marathon. I’m not sure what caused it since I always had good shoes and I don’t think I overtrained. I’m think that it was probably a combination of training and also teaching full time and being on my feet all day.

    My advice would be to make sure that all of your shoes have good arch support because even the time when you’re NOT training can affect your feet.

    Also, if something feels painful- don’t ignore it. I think if I caught my PF earlier, I may have been able to get away with a less severe case. It’s been 7 months and counting…

  22. I always knock on wood! I think multiple times a day!

    I have never had a serious injury, but I do get back spasms and I have since high school. When I am having one, it really sidelines my workouts, but thankfully, they work themselves out in a couple of days.

  23. Lindsey says:

    Get out of my head!!! I JUST promised my legs and feet that I would dedicate more time to stretching and icing (feet) and would get my sweaty self over to the machines in the gym for some leg work (legs). My feet–particularly my arches–have been really bothering me lately and I’m coming into the second half of marathon training. Not being able to achieve a goal or have to sit out because of an self-incurred injury would be so sad.

    Your training and dedication has been dynamo and I’m sure you’re going to coast through that half marathon like it ain’t no thang.

  24. I’ve had a few sports injuries, but nothing serious. A few jammed fingers and sprained ankles in my basketball-playing years, but those are almost inevitable if you play bball for years and years. Running—hmmm I had a foot injury one year from overuse but I had no control over my training so it wasn’t my fault! :-) I think your tips are spot on. Be proactive and always listen to your body.

  25. It’s still pretty warm here during the day too. But man are the mornings and evenings amazing!

  26. I find trying to go slower MUCH harder than going faster too. It’s tough to keep your body from doing what it normally does pace wise. I too have never had a sports injury since starting to run about 2 years ago. *knock on wodd* Well, besides a quick back injury sideline a couple of months ago but that’s a pre-existing condition that I flared up with improper weight lifting form that I don’t think counts. People are always saying running is tough on your body but I’ve literally yet to experience that. Thankfully :)

  27. I feel like since I started regular chiro appointments, my back and knees have never felt better. It has really helped!

  28. I’ve never had a serious injury. Every once in a while, if I’m not careful, I can roll my ankle. It’s scares me when I do it, so I pay more attention to my feet during the rest of step class. I don’t know about those ice baths. I’ve never tried one, but I just don’t know if my feet could talk my butt into it!

  29. I’ve never had a sports-related injury either. Even when I was running a lot, I was sure to give myself rest when I needed it– I think too many people get injured because they refuse to take a break, even when that’s exactly what the body is demanding!

  30. I worry about jinxing things all the time! It’s so annoying…lol

  31. I couldn’t agree more with you about cross training. Also, stretching and rolling are a must for me. I still haven’t attempted the ice bath, but came really close after my 12 miler on Sunday. I think I was hallucinating ;0

  32. Sydney says:

    I am the queen of sports related injuries! I think I am really just accident prone or something! From gymnastics and cheerleading I have injured just about everything. My most recent and biggest injury was my shoulder surgery I had in March of 2010…not fun! Thankfully since coming to school and being on the cheer team at NC State I have been healthy (knock on wood) Yes I do worry about jinxing myself haha

  33. I have had far too many sport related injuries. I’m currently working through one while training. I have a post on what i’ve learned from my injuries and my PT

  34. Yes, yes, yes. My brother (the supreme athlete in my family!) is the king of sports related injuries. The ONLY TIME he didn’t injure himself was when he was training for his bodybuilding thing – because he was following all of these rules. I have definitely learned what not to do through him!

  35. I’m injured right now! Woo! Haha. But yeah, my back is all sorts of messed up, and my soreness has moved down into my leg as well. Boo. I went to the doctor today and “found out” that I’m uneven (“found out” because I’ve suspected it for a long time…having your hips clearly not line up can make a person think that…but I’ve never been “officially” told that I’m uneven) which was part of why I got hurt (it was actually probably running in shoes that were bad for my unevenness and not allowing myself to heal after initially injuring myself running in said shoes). I have to take a week off of pretty much all cardio exercise, though I can swim, AND I’m not allowed to wear cute shoes (the horror!). I have to wear supportive shoes for the next seven days, which is almost as frustrating as not being able to run/elliptical/bike haha. Hopefully this (plus my new prescription strength ibuprofen) will clear up my pain, otherwise I have to do PT :(

  36. I broke my collarbone last year while training for a 150 mile bike ride. I was riding in a group and the person in front of me stopped short. I slammed into his back tire and fell. It was a long and slow recovery. It was so difficult for me to just take it easy. I found ways to exercise that didn’t use any upper body like walking on an incline using the treadmill handles. This injury has made me so appreciative of my body and it’s power to heal. Now I am much more cautious while exercising in groups.

  37. I developed plantar fasciitis almost 7 years ago and steal deal with it today. Luckily, I’ve been able to run regularly for the last year and a half without it impacting it too much, but I regularly have to stretch it out, massage it, and remember to take it easy when it feels like it’s starting to flare up.

    Looks like you’re doing all the right things and being mindful of injury is great. When I first got injured, I was not properly warming up, stretching, taking rest days, having “easy” days, etc. It was always push push push. Oh, the naiveness of youth.

  38. Hilary says:

    Thank goodness I have never had a sports injury either…especially since I’m not a very good stretcher! I’m so with you on cross and strength training…main thing for me is preventing boredom!

  39. I am a HUGE believer in strength training to prevent injuries. I used to work as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through a physical therapy clinic (seriously, best. job. ever.) and we focused a lot on injury prevention through treating muscle imbalances and such. I always look for hip + core weaknesses because those 2 things provide so much stability in your body and link to everything. If those 2 things are linked, you’re asking for injury. The only injuries I’ve had are from overtraining and I’ve learned exactly where my limits are now. I’m so excited for you to get certified and can’t wait to hear more of the things you are learning!

  40. I developed IT band syndrome my senior year of college. The drs at the on-campus health center just told me to stop running and take aleve. I was so happy when I found a dr who referred me to PT, which helped me fix the issue post-haste!

  41. I am so lucky to have never suffered from a sport injury either… I had annoyances with my aches a couple times but that was it. Great tips!

  42. Shady says:

    I’m a person who always seems to be in pain from something. In my teens it was severe tendonitis in both my wrists and hands which would flare up monthly or more often. In my early 20s it was chronic headaches, shoulder and hip pain and sciatic. As I started running a few years ago, it was a stress fracture and than shin splints. Now it’s a sprained ankle (acute) and a strained Achilles tendon (chronic).

    My number one advice. If your pain is chronic, know that regular, gentle physical activity can help manage it. Of course consult your doctor (or physiotherapist or whoever you are seeing on a regular basis).

    Two if it is an acute injury, take the time to let it heal properly, so it doesn’t become chronic. In my experience, there is nothing worse than waking up in agony every morning. I’ve been there and it seriously sucks.

    And finally, make sure you are wearing the right equipment for the sport you want to participate in. Investing in new running shoes has worked miracles in terms of eliminating my shin splints. The other week when I wiped out on my bike, my head hit the ground. Fortunately, it was protected by my helmet which did crack when it impacted.

  43. I’ve never had a sports related injury either. Actually, the only injuries I’ve ever had were from a car accident when I was really young. Again, knock on wood! :) I think another important factor to avoiding injury is making sure our bodies are fueled properly–getting enough calcium, staying hydrated,etc. Those things can really make a difference!

  44. LUCKY girl! Hope that you never, ever have to experience one because they are noooo fun. My personal opinion is that many people who experience sports injuries are predisposed to one due to some congenital reason and are probably straining that area of the body. All of my injuries have happened that way…but I just can’t stay away from sports!

  45. Sports injury?

    I dislocated my knee while doing cartwheels for my kids in the living room.

    Tips?

    Don’t do cartwheels in your living room when you haven’t done them in 15 years and you weigh 300 pounds.

    Ouch!

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