General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Advice for an injury-prone runner? Rss Feed  
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2020-01-09 1:53 PM


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Subject: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Hi all, it's my goal to do a sprint tri sometime this year but I'm starting to wonder if it's possible for me. I've made two attempts at C25K and they've both been derailed by injury: first quad tendinitis, which I've rehabbed and seems to be mostly resolved, and now some IT band pain in the other knee. It's pretty mild and I'm working with a physical therapist on some hip strengthening exercises, but I'm still feeling discouraged. I'm an active person and have been for awhile, and I'm not usually injury-prone, so this is a new challenge for me.

I am lifting for injury prevention, plus foamrolling, and I will be adding in yoga to help with flexibility. I'm not following a specific training plan yet, but I'm running 2x/week, lifting 2x/week, swimming 1-2x/week, and biking 1-2x/week depending on time/fatigue etc. I take one rest day a week and also schedule in recovery weeks. I get enough sleep and eat plenty of protein. I am 10-15lbs overweight, so I eat at a 300-calorie deficit most days. I am running in proper shoes (the Brooks Ghost 12), usually on sidewalks, but I could try a track or a treadmill if that would help. I'm female and 41 if that's relevant.

My PT isn't all that concerned and thinks that my body just needs to get used to running, and that I just need to be patient. I'm sure she's right, but I admit I can't shake these doubts that maybe triathlons aren't for me. I am willing to hire a tri coach to guide me if that would help, since it is possible that my current training is leading to issues I'm not aware of, but I'm not sure if that's premature at this point. I would love to hear from others in my position-- how did you commit to this sport even with these kinds of issues?

Thanks in advance


2020-01-09 4:04 PM
in reply to: stephjbee

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Highland Park, Illinois
Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
As long as your PT is not objecting your running, don't get discouraged.

My advice for avoiding injuries: run VERY, VERY, VERY SLOW. As slow as you can have a conversation. I know it may feel weird, especially if you run through a place with other runners, and they all run faster, but trust me: it works.

First of all, it prevents injuries. It was the case for me, and for many others, including some members of this group.
And then two, it will actually make you run faster. Don't ask me how it works, but it does. Once I started running super slow while training I went from 12 min/mile to 8+ min/mile during the races.

If you want more details, here is BarryP plan - he explains it very well:
https://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=2548394;search_string=b...
https://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=1612485;search_string=r...

Do not think triathlon is not for you until you actually TRI it
2020-01-09 5:10 PM
in reply to: stephjbee

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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Don't give up on triathlon before you even get into it! You will be hooked once you finish your first sprint.

The advice to slow down is a good one. Most running injuries occur from people trying to do too much, too soon, too often, too fast, or some combination of these. You're on the right track for recovery and injury prevention. Keep it up and soon your chassis will be strong enough to handle the stress from running. Aqua jogging is a good way to get your running muscles moving while avoiding too much stress from ground impact. May not be a bad idea to add in some sets during your pool time.

Jay Dicchary's Anatomy for Runners is a good book to pick up as well. Lots of good advice and workout programs, as well as quick tests to identify weaknesses and muscle imbalances. Im a therapist myself and was impressed with the book. The terminology is down to earth and easy to understand.

Biggest advice I received for running is to slow down and think long term. You want to still be running 20 years or more from now. Don't get inpatient and try to rush into run fitness, your body will always revolt.

Good luck and I hope you have a speedy recovery!
2020-01-09 6:37 PM
in reply to: Parkland


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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Thanks to both of you for the encouragement! I think I needed to hear that I can do this even if my body isn't cooperating right now.

I do run pretty slowly already-- I use my Fitbit to track my runs and my pace is usually 12-15min/mile depending on how tired I am and other factors. If I catch myself running faster than that I make sure to slow down. But I will keep the "slow enough to have a conversation" tip in mind. I usually run on my own with no one to talk to, so I will need to be very conscious of my breathing.

Good tip on the aqua jogging; will try next time I am in the pool. And I've ordered the Dicchary book. Exercises to find weaknesses is exactly what I need, I think.

I also have to ask, are there triathletes who run/walk the run portions of their races? Is that a thing? I would like to think that maybe I can do a tri this year even if running is progressing slowly for me. I am happy to be patient with running in general, but it's difficult to feel like my entire goal is being held up by my finicky knees
2020-01-09 7:31 PM
in reply to: stephjbee

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Highland Park, Illinois
Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Walking is absolutely allowable and very common I bet you will find some other racers walking. There is actually a strategy of running intervals (is that how it's called?) where you run/walk for certain ratio, for example: run 10 minutes, walk 2 minutes, run 5 miles, walk 1 mile, etc.... This is crucial for long distances, but is used in short ones too. It actually helps you recover and have more power. One of my very first 5K runs, I was running the whole time and there were two girls doing run+walk. I passed them every time they walked, then they passed me every time when they run... They seemed to have more energy and were smiling, while I felt as if I was dying....
You can either follow that strategy, or just listen to your body: if your body feels like walking, walk. There is no shame in that, you will see plenty of folks walking as well. This is actually very smart to walk when you need to, and when you feel an injury may come.
2020-01-09 10:29 PM
in reply to: 0

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?

Have you looking into the Run-Walk-Run Type Stuff that Jeff Galloway prescribes for runners?  It sounds crazy but Jeff is convinced that for endurance running that you are faster with short regular walk breaks.  The real value in that method is that totally cures you from being injury-prone.  It might be work a look.

 

***EDIT***  Oh...Marysia already said this.  Yes, what she is describing is the Joe Galloway Run-Walk-Run Method.  Jeff Said when he gets injury-prone athletes on it that the injuries all go away.  It is not just walking.  It is walking with a purpose and it will keep you injury free and may even make you faster.



Edited by BlueBoy26 2020-01-09 10:34 PM


2020-01-10 9:26 AM
in reply to: BlueBoy26

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Highland Park, Illinois
Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
...and to add to what Curtis said:
there was a study done on obese folks with diabetes. They had two groups: one was just running, the second group was doing intervals of run/walk. The second group's performance was incredibely better than the first one, including all results, such us blood, weight loss, and so on (whatever they were measuring). The researchers said that when you just continuesly run, your brain "thinks" ok, he will just keep running until he dies, so we need to preserve as much energy as possible, and only give the muscles a little bit, to make sure we survive as long as we can... For the interval person, once the brain "notices" that after a run there is a period of walk, he identifies those breaks and "realizes" he won't die, so during the run interval it gives muscles all energy they need, and during the walk it has the time to rest and recovers.
It makes so much sense when you think about it I only listened to it on the radio, I can do some digging if you want to read the actual study. But I bet you get the point

I currently do very long distance running, and the run/walk is actually the only proper method to accomplish those, and if you see profiles of the pro ultra runners, they do the same thing. There is way more benefits of run/walk than cons
2020-01-10 2:30 PM
in reply to: marysia83


10

Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
This is giving me so much hope, thank you! I didn't realize the run-walk method was the default strategy for longer distances but it makes sense. I actually love walking and do quite a lot of it, so I'm happy to hear that walk breaks can be part of my actual race strategy, and not just a fallback. I do expect that I'll be able to do more running overall if I don't have to do it continuously. I've noticed even with my IT band that if it starts to flare up and I stop and walk for a bit, I can start running again without irritating it. (I assume because my muscles get a chance to recover, which means my form gets better.)

I think at this point I might scrap C25K and try the Galloway program. Anything that reduces my risk of injury but still lets me participate in triathlons is good in my book
2020-01-10 3:13 PM
in reply to: #5265511

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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
The Galloway method is super effective. I think Galloway wrote somewhere that one of his sons qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon distance by using the run/walk method.
2020-01-10 3:23 PM
in reply to: Parkland

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Highland Park, Illinois
Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
I googled it and reading about it right now. Wow!

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/run-walk/

2020-01-14 12:13 PM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Thought I'd share an update in case it's helpful for others.

I've started to suspect that my running problem might actually be a biking problem, at least in part. I'd wondered about this previously because the IT band issues didn't start until after I bought my new road bike, but I never actually felt any pain while biking, only running. But after a group ride this weekend my IT band seems pretty irritated on both knees, which is new (in the past it was only on my left knee, and it never got this irritated). I never had issues like this with my old hybrid, even on long rides or when bike commuting multiple times a week.

I'm going to stick to swimming while my knees heal, and I've decided to go in for a professional bike fit. My LBS did some fitting when I bought the bike and I thought maybe that was sufficient, since they seemed pretty knowledgeable and the person who fitted me is an experienced triathlete himself, but they didn't spend as much time on it as a professional fitter would. I live near SF so I booked a session with Pedro Dungo since I've heard good things. Hoping this will be part of the solution to keep me healthy going forward. Just wanted to post this in case anyone else stumbles across this thread later and might be in a similar situation-- I guess for triathletes these things are always more complicated


Edited by stephjbee 2020-01-14 12:42 PM


2020-01-14 5:14 PM
in reply to: stephjbee

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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
The bike fit is a good idea. It's perhaps the bike-run combination that overwhelms your IT Band.

Strength and Flexibility are super important in preventing ITBS but once it flares up most folks have to let it recover to heal.

Couch to 5k is billed as a beginner program but there are many people for whom it is not a great start. In the world of triathlon a 5k is a short run. But it is an endurance event to run 3 miles. So starting with a walk-run ratio is a very good idea. Jeff Galloway is the master but he does specialize with marathon training. I have worked with beginning runners who are starting with 30 seconds jog and 1 minute walk. I also know several triathletes who due to knee issues walk or power walk the run portion of the race.

I just wanted to pop in and give you some encouragement :-)
2020-01-15 11:27 AM
in reply to: miamiamy


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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Thank you for the encouragement! It is very appreciated. This has been a pretty challenging time for me and I think my loved ones are starting to wonder why I'm still putting myself though all of this

I did wonder if maybe the biking + running combo was part of my problem. The interesting thing is that the first time I did C25K I was actually running much more often than I am now (3-4x/week then, 1-2x/week now), while also still biking regularly, and I didn't have any IT band issues. My second C25K attempt, however, came a week or two after getting the new bike, and that's also when my IT band started acting up. There's also the fact that I haven't run in almost a week but my IT band seems to be getting worse and not better… so that seems to point to the new bike (or, rather, the fit) as the likely culprit. My fit session is in a couple weeks so I'm planning to rest until then and see how things go after.
2020-01-15 8:04 PM
in reply to: stephjbee

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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Others have given a lot of good advice but will add a bit of my experience here. First, it's entirely possible that your issues are coming from cycling rather than running. Even injuries that are typically seen as "runner's injuries" by PT's and sports docs can also be caused by cycling, especially if there are issues with bike fit or even shoe fit, or a sudden increase training volume or change in terrain. A few years ago, I struggled for months with a foot problem that was misdiagnosed as a tendon tear and even a stress fracture when it fact it was a nerve irritated by a combination of poorly fitting bike shoes and fluid retention (the latter for non-training related reasons).I would definitely check on your bike fit.

As for run/walk, I'd venture to guess that a majority of age-group athletes use some walking at the longer distances (iron and half-iron) and many athletes, particularly beginners, walk part of the "run" for shorter ones. As long as you meet time cutoffs, there is no rule against walking! Many find it a helpful training tool as well. That's particularly true for long distances or very hot conditions when you may need to slow down to take in nutrition and fluids effectively.
2020-01-17 11:37 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner


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Subject: RE: Advice for an injury-prone runner?
Thanks HotRunner for sharing your experience, very interesting. I've heard of other similar cases where a triathlete got a "running" injury that turned out later to have actually been a cycling problem. I suppose it's easy to miss because even if the bike is causing the injury, the pain might manifest more on the runs due to the impact (as was the case with me). I'm really looking forward to my bike fit session.

Appreciate the additional data point on run/walking too. I think at some point I absorbed this conventional wisdom that running races are for running, and that walking means you've "failed" somehow, but that's obviously silly, especially for a multi-sport event where people without a strong running background are competing alongside everyone else. And clearly walking intervals can be a good strategy even for people who take running seriously. I'm excited to try out the Galloway program once my knees have recovered
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