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.