You’ve read The PUP List #1 and found out which it is.
Remember: Don’t panic.
What next? If you’re injured your looking at some time off. But if you’re hurt…
HERE’S SOMETHING THAT CAN GET YOU MOVING SOON.
I have a coworker who surmised a Coach/Private Trainer’s role succinctly: I can’t fix you but I can get you moving today. Now there’s a small chance that something below will fix you completely (and quickly), but one or all of them should make you feel better immediately.
Step 1: R-I-C-E
R-I-C-E falls into the containment/prevention category. Nothing here will help you run today, but it will certainly help you tomorrow and into your future recovery. If you hurt at all during or after a run start here.
Rest- Simple, right? Take time off. A good rule of thumb is wait until pain subsides, then wait another day or two. Test out your legs and then re-assess.
I was at a lecture given by Mike Boyle and Dan John (two amazing strength coaches/lecturers btw). The room was full of strength coaches, trainers, generally big dudes, bald heads, fu manchu mustaches, testosterone, and me. I felt like I was undercover.
Mike Boyle was speaking and the topic of runner’s came up. Everyone in the room snickered. ‘He-he. Weaklings’.
‘A runner,’ Mike began, ‘is like someone who slams their hand in a door and hurts it. They reluctantly stop what they are doing; they rehab their hand, they care for it, they love it, and as soon as it is feeling somewhat better they take it right back and slam it in the door again.’ Lots of laughs from the strength crowd.
‘Ahh, silly runners… so fragile, so dumb.’
Cold blooded. But accurate.
My Sister once hurt her foot on mile 3-4 of a 14 miler. She finished the run (and did some damage to her foot). Why? Runners don’t like to rest unless it’s scheduled in our training program.
And she’s an idiot.
Juuuuust kidding Sis.
Be smart. There is nothing you can do in one or two workouts that will significantly change the next two months of running. Nothing. Your fitness is the sum product of months of work.
But there are things you can do in ONE workout that will SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGE the next 6 MONTHS of workouts. So rest.
Ice- get out the ice bags or stick your injured area into an icy river (I’m talking cold enough to make your foot numb in a minute. If you live south of New Hampshire then find ice).
Compression- Throw on some compression socks or wrap up your injury in voodoo floss. This stimulates circulation and will help with swelling and dispersal of lactic acid.
Side note: Have compression socks become the new ‘race medals’. I swear that people wear them out in public to be noticed. If a runner walks into a room wearing compression socks someone is obliged to notice and ask how the run went. I’m not hating, I’m just putting it out there. Some of you are wearing those socks to get people to ask you about your race.
The interesting thing about compression socks is that people respond differently to them. My wife feels better if she wears them during her race or long run but takes them off afterward. If I wear them during a long run or race I feel no different afterward, but wearing them to bed the night after a tough race/workout allows me to recover by morning.
If I wear them to bed I move like this come morning:
And if I don’t:
Training for a race? Try wearing them at different times during your training (during/immediately after/overnight) and seeing which time produces the best results for you.
Another compression related device that is gaining some traction is Normatec sleeves. Remember Hammer pants? Just fill them with air and program them to massage your legs for :10-:20 minutes. That’s Normatec. Or as their website states: ‘we use compressed air to massage your limbs’. They’re great. They’ll get rid of your dead legs. And yours for the low low price of about $3G’s. If you don’t have a spare $3G’s lying around then check and see if your gym has a pair that you can use. Equinox Sports Club has you covered.
Elevation- Runner’s legs are the sight of most injuries. Gravity causes blood to pool in our legs. We need to re-oxygenate that blood and rid it of toxins like lactic acid. Lift your legs above your hurt and let gravity flush out your legs. How to do this:
Lie on your side next to a wall. Swing your legs up. Scoot your butt in to touch the wall. Voila! Hamstring stretch/and elevation at the same time. This is a great place to sit and think post long run.
You can also use two yoga postures to help here: shoulder stand (pictured, although beginners should support their lower back with their hands) and viparita kirani (place a block under your lower back and let legs hang overhead).
Or you can stack something under the foot end of your bed. I used to say place a dictionary or a phone book under the bed posts but when’s the last time you saw a phone book. Or a dictionary. F#@k I’m old.
R.I.C.E is not sexy. Don’t overlook it because it’s basic, perfunctory, and boring. Bottom line: it works.
Got R.I.C.E questions? I hope I have answers. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org