**Disclosure: I was sent the MyoBuddy Massager in exchange for a blog review and social shares. All opinions are my own.**
A few weeks ago, I was playing with my kids one evening and noticed my back was really starting to bother me. Not only that, but my hip felt super tight and painful. The next morning, I woke up to run, and my feet felt sore. This all after a full day of rest.
If you have been following me for awhile, you know my history with injuries not too long ago. First, it was hip + pelvis issues on + off after having my second baby. Then, I ended up tearing my plantar fascia, sidelining me from running for about a month (and I was lucky since I ended up tearing it on my own). So, all these little nagging aches + pains were something I knew I needed to nip in the bud before they led to worse injuries and being sidelined from running for an extended period of time.
When it comes to injuries, I feel like I’ve had them all: plantar fasciitis (twice), ITBS, runner’s knee, piriformis syndrome, tendonitis (in my hamstrings + feet), and, the worst of all, a stress fracture. Luckily (OMG, knock on wood!!!), I’ve been able to bounce back from most of the injuries fairly quickly and have learned some good prevention techniques in order to help me “prehab” my body and keep it running healthy.
These are my go-to injury prevention methods to keep running healthy during intense training for races:
Keep your hips healthy.
I’ve said this in the past, but hips are KEY to keeping your entire body healthy. I can always tell when I have been slacking on my hip exercises because I will get those little nagging aches + pains from my abs all the way down to my feet. It could be my knee, hip, IT band, or arches, but they all stem back from instability in my hips + core.
My go-to hip strengthening exercises are all in one place with my favorite little hip circuit. I have my middle school track kids do this DAILY before their run, as well as leg swings (forward-back, side-to-side, and circles) to help build strength in their hips to help keep them healthy – AND help them run FASTER.
Regular chiropractic visits.
I started going to the chiropractor 4 years ago and I have never looked back! At the time, I went because I was having severe knee pain any time I knelt down or did a squat. Turns out, I had a partially torn meniscus. But, my chiropractor did some Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) on it, and within a WEEK, I had no more pain in my knees.
He also has taken care of many other injuries that have plagued me – hips, knees, feet, abs, etc. Anytime I have an ache or pain that doesn’t go away in a day or two, my chiro always seems to be able to fix it. Of course, there have been times when he hasn’t been able to fix my messed up body (like when I tore my plantar fascia), but for the most part, I have a quick fix any time I am feeling a little more than just sore. Oh, and he was able to “diagnose” my 6th lumbar vertebrae, which just so happens to cause some extra hip stability issues (and, really weird, my husband has the same thing), so that hip circuit becomes even MORE important!
I’ll admit, the only time I bust out my foam roller is when I am feeling extra tightness or soreness – it is not a regular thing in my training regimen. However, the foam roller HAS come in handy when I have been injured. Foam rolling played a HUGE role (no pun intended) in my treatment + recovery of my ITBS. That and my hip circuit single handedly helped me recover in about a week to get back to my regular running. Of course, it forced me to back out of my marathon at the time, but I was able to bounce back to normal running very quickly – and have NEVER had that issue since. (I’ve learned that sitting + doing NOTHING for a week – on our honeymoon – does NOT work well for my body.)
I have learned to book a massage after EVERY half marathon. It helps me recover SO much faster than when I don’t get a massage. I love my massage (and massage therapist) so much that I ended up buying a membership last year. Guess how many times I have used it? Twice. I just don’t have the time to go. If they offered childcare, that would be totally different, but they don’t, so I had to cancel my membership.
But, I LOVE that massage and how I feel afterward. I hold a LOT of stress in my shoulders, neck, and back, so I always want something to relieve that tension. As much as I love him, Matt is just NOT good at a back massage. But, my new method of massage does a really good job of taking a massage therapist + husband’s place.
Meet the MyoBuddy Massager. While it’s a bit pricey, it is worth every penny! Neck feeling sore? No worries. A minute or 2 of the MyoBuddy on my neck, and I’m feeling as good as new. Hamstrings feeling tight after a long run? MyoBuddy to the rescue! I LOVE that it doesn’t take a lot of time and feels as good as going to my massage therapist. Plus, I don’t need to worry about childcare to get a good massage + relieve some tension. The really cool thing is they have video tutorials on their website for how to use it in each major muscle group – I’ve been doing my hamstrings A LOT lately and it feels SO much better than a foam roller EVERY will.
So far, I am on a good non-injury streak, and I’m hoping to stay that way! As long as I keep up doing these 4 things, I think I will be good to go! My biggest piece of advice to my fellow runners:
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Soreness is normal and can last usually around 2 days. Anything longer than that, try one of these methods above. If those don’t work, it’s time to see a doctor. And ANY type of pain that is extreme should be immediately seen by a doctor. Don’t wait – you might be able to prevent a more serious injury by having someone check it early!