running healthy

**Disclosure:  I was contacted by Woods & Co. on behalf of Theraband to test out + review their Kinesiology Tape.  All opinions are my own.**

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If you have been reading for any period of time, you know that I tend to deal with frequent injuries, but thankfully, injuries that do not take me long to bounce back from.  The most serious injury I have had in my running career was a stress fracture and subsequent tendonitis in my foot back in 2006.  Since then, most of my injuries have been short lived, with the occasional extended time off from running.  However, I feel VERY fortunate that most of the injuries I have dealt with in the 10 years since my stress fracture have not kept me from doing the thing I love and need in my life.

I wish I could say that I have a secret formula that keeps me injury free, but I really don’t.  Sometimes I wonder why I don’t get injured more often, but then again, I know that while I train hard and push myself, I also have learned and taught myself how to train SMART.  And smart is MUCH more important than hard.

A few things that I feel have really helped me to bounce back quickly from nagging aches and pains or things that could have been more serious injuries (like plantar fasciitis):

IMG_6734Regular chiropractor visits.  I’ve written about my love for my chiropractor(s) before, but seriously, this is probably one of the best investments in our health that Matt and I have made.  It’s AMAZING how much better I feel after getting adjusted – and I can tell when I haven’t been adjusted in awhile (like now, when I’m too busy with teaching + coaching for a quick adjustment).  I am very thankful to have chiros that support my love of running and know how to treat my injuries in a way that will keep me running.

Keeping my mileage on the low end.  If you would read the training log of Olympic marathoners like Meb or Shalane, you’d see weeks of 130+ miles.  Even elite and professional runners training for 5Ks (like me) run ungodly amounts of mileage.  It has taken me a LONG time to come to this discovery, but my body just cannot handle a ton of mileage.  The most miles I have ever run in 1 week is right around 40 miles – and that’s when I did a 20 mile run during marathon training.  While I would love to be running 60 miles per week, (1) I just don’t have that kind of time, and (2) my body cannot handle that amount of pounding.  I know that to be at my peak training, I need to be running 25-35 miles per week.  This is my “sweet spot” – I can run this amount and not deal with a ton of aches and pains.  More than that and I’m pretty sure I’d end up with a stress fracture.

Strength training.  Over the years, the stronger I’ve gotten, the less injuries I’ve dealt with.  I’ve finally found a type of training that works really well with my running and can make me stronger to help me avoid injuries.  Not only lifting weights, but strengthening my hips and core as well.  Those 2 areas are SO important to injury prevention, so they are the 2 things I make sure I am including in EVERY training plan.  Check out my Hip Circuit for Runners to help you keep your hips and core strong!

KinesioTape.  I know.  I bought in to the goofy Olympic fad, but hear me out.  I’ve actually been using kinesiotape since 2010, after I dealt with some really horrible high hamstring tendonitis.  I went to a chiropractor (one different than the one I have now) who did laser therapy, ultrasound, and kinesiotape to help treat my injury.  Just a few days after starting this treatment, I noticed a significant difference in the way my hamstrings felt.  Yes, I was also having other treatments, but I have used kinesiotape for other nagging injuries since then and have definitely noticed a difference.  Most recently, the hip pain I have been dealing with since early this summer.  I started taping my hip about a month ago and it feels SO much better when it is taped vs. when it is not.  While it is MUCH better when I don’t have it taped, I still deal with some hip pain if it isn’t.  And when it is?  Zero.  So, yes, I’m a fan.  I actually just had to start taping my OTHER hip this week, so I’m definitely thankful for finding this little trick a few weeks ago!  I’m actually hoping to get certified in the next year – that is how much I believe in this stuff for helping with injuries!

My favorite lately is the Theraband Kinesiology Tape.  It is pre-cut into strips and they also have instructional videos on how to tape common running injuries, like plantar fasciitis and Runner’s Knee.  Plus, I love the pretty blue, even if no one can see it peaking out from my shorts.

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While I know there are probably a LOT more things for preventing injuries, these are the ones I feel have had the biggest impact on my running.  I’d love to hear how you stay a healthy runner!  Leave a comment below, or head on over to the Badass Running Buddies Community and share your injury prevention tips!