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Friday, August 13, 2010

Streakin Injury Free

Some of you have left comments in the past few weeks asking how I've avoided injury during my streak (currently at 55 days), or if I have any tips for avoiding injury during a streak. And, honestly? I do not feel qualified to dole out advice on this one, and I'm not sure if my current methods have actually enabled me to avoid injury, or if I've just been lucky. But, what I can give you are a few details about the streak and about me -- personally and as a runner -- that might provide insight into why I've been injury-free so far on this quest.

1. Low mileage. My runs during this streak have been short -- the longest singular distances have been my weekend 6 milers -- and while I did run 100 miles in July, each run was an average of 3 miles. And really, 100 miles isn't much when compared to many of you and your running, especially those of you currently training for fall marathons. However, I am in the process of planning my fall race calendar, so I plan on a slow ramp up of mileage over the next few months, and it'll be interesting to see if I will be able to do both: Train and streak.

2. Keeping it slow. The heat and humidity of summer seem to naturally slow every runner, add pushing the jogging stroller, and it's not hard for me to reel in the pace. While I still do attempt to run at a faster pace when I run solo, for the most part, the runs during this streak have been done at a very moderate pace. So without much distance or speed, my legs don't really need recovery from particularly demanding runs.

3. Age. I'm only 32 and at the peak of my physical prime. This is true for almost all of us: For most, the peak of our physical condition occurs between ages 25-35. So, in my early 30s, my body is not prone to much injury, and is instead apt to perform at its best for the next few years. This means I'm at an ideal confluence of attributes: I have enough age and experience to give me considerable self-confidence and to make sure that I measure my satisfaction with running in personal terms, but I am still young enough to recover quickly and easily.

4. Personal history. I'm not really prone to injury. Yes, a few years ago, I suffered from a painful bout with ITBS, but I believe that was more from inconsistent and reckless running than it was from overuse. And since then (that was 2007), I haven't had any trouble with any injury. (Although, I should also note that I have not trained for a marathon since 2007 and that too may be a significant reason why I have been able to avoid injury for 3 years.) Some of us, no matter our age, just may have innate injury-propensity. That could be because of past athletic endeavors, or it could be because of our unique physiology.

Certainly there may be other intrinsic and extrinsic factors that have been important along the way, but I think these highlight the few that have been most significant for me. Those last two words are what's important here: Every runner has to know his or her own abilities and limitations when it comes to injury propensity or prevention, and we all have to make choices according to that knowledge. Streaking is not for everyone, nor should it be. It has just happened to be right for me, right now.

19 comments:

Krissy said...

Really that is amazing you have been able to keep the streak up as long as you have. Knowing when to push and what your limitations are is key to keeping healthy and injury free. good job!

Lily on the Road said...

Good job on "streaking" in a sensible fashion and OMG, you could be my daughter!! LOL..which by the way would be wonderful! LOL

RunningLaur said...

You've become quite the successful streaker! If it works, stick with it - can't wait to see what cooler temps in the fall will bring.

TNTcoach Ken said...

I attribute it to not bowling or playing racquetball, which you are so good at! ha

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Great job on your streak! I am at DAY #96! I wasn't sure I'd make it to 100 with the racing and ultra. I am so excited to get back to racing again although I can't say I actually plan a day off after I hit 100.

I think all the factos you've listed do help keep you injury free while streaking. Common sense is the best thing to put into place before attempting a streak of any length. You've always seem to have it, no wonder you are still going strong!


FYI: I read that actually marathon runners are known for peaking around 35 - 40 years of age.

Viper said...

We've had enough of this low mileage streaking by now. I think it's time to starting adding a mile every day. Cheers!

Oz Runner said...

way to stay injury free...keep it up!

Lisa said...

good job.

i seem to be in the opposite boat...non-run streak speckled with injury. lol

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

all very good tips!

Running 365 said...

You're doing so well and though you're mentally inspiring me, I don't anything is quite physically inspiring me to get out the door yet! Thanks for keeping us updated!

A few years ago, when I first tried my streaking, I made it 275 days, but I had a LOT of 1 mile days. I think that's what kept me from getting injured. It seems a lot more impressive when your "short runs" are 3 miles!

MCM Mama said...

I would have to agree with all your factors. I definitely found that I was fine as long as I went slow. As soon as I start doing speedwork or really long runs, my body needs a rest day.

d.a.r. said...

I really enjoyed reading this--it sounds like you are being smart (not that this is surprising) about it. I can't wait to see how streaking works with training.

TinaGirl said...

love this! Kinda jealous of your 55 days!

runner26 said...

very awesome--keep it up!

Nicole said...

keep up the great work.

Christine said...

You are doing great with your running!! I'm happy for you that you are injury free and I think you are doing it smart: low mileage and slightly increasing. I hope your streaking goes for a much longer time!!! :)

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing! Makes sense to me. Here's hoping you keep that injury-free streak going as well!

Jess said...

You're so right that what works for one runner to prevent injury might not work for another. But I agree that lower mileage and being consistent help. I've found those work well for me too!

Heather said...

Glad you have been able to keep going with no injuries. Whatever works to keep you healthy, happy and running!