Reflecting & Rebuilding

August is a new month, and I feel like a new person. After dealing with three different minor injuries in July, thankfully, August is shaping up well.

After the calf issue I wrote about in my last post, I got back to running…only to have the tendons on the top of my opposite foot start to act up. Then, a couple days later, a finish an easy 7 mile run, only to find myself unable to fully straighten my knee!

Knee 2
The most I could straighten my right knee… maybe about 155 – 160 degrees?

All of the issues were relatively minor, and issues I’ve dealt with before, but talk about annoying. It took an additional week of rest, and aggressive Active Release Technique therapy to get to the point when I could run again.

ART
ART & some electric stimulation

For those keeping track at home, that all meant 16 days off in July—and three solid weeks of inconsistent running, if you don’t count those few short runs between the calf injury and the knee problems. And then I also had three DNSs (races in which I was registered, but “did not start”).

As someone who went 16 months without injury, and grew to really like that injury-free lifestyle, it was important for me to take a step back and think about what has changed and what I could do to keep myself healthy. As I wrote about in my last post, I got lazy after Boston, and I stopped doing all those little things we runners need to do to keep ourselves going, such as foam roll. But something more: I moved.

In mid-May, my fiancé and I packed up our bags and moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey. It’s a pretty minor change, but with an important factor: the sidewalks in my new town—particularly along the waterfront, where I’ve been doing most of my running—are largely brick. Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, I did most of my running on asphalt, with probably about a third of my miles on concrete.

As I look back at my training, I don’t think I really appreciated what a difference that change in surface could make. Not only is brick harder than asphalt, it’s also often uneven! I think the harder surface – and the uneven terrain – gradually beat up on my body, particularly some of the stabilizing muscles around the knee and my Achilles’ tendon.

To fix this, I’ve taken to running in the street on the asphalt next to the brick path as much as possible. It’s impossible for me to avoid the brick 100%, but my goal is to limit my exposure to less than one third of any run.

Additionally, I signed up for a gym near my office in Manhattan so I can run along the asphalt waterfront path on that side of the river before work and have a place to shower. That will help me further limit the number of miles on brick.

So far, I’m optimistic. I’m over a week and more than 30 miles into my return to running, and so far, so good.

 

What type of surface do you run on? Have you ever had to change your routine after a move to account for new conditions?

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8 thoughts on “Reflecting & Rebuilding

  1. I’m glad you are doing better and running again! Stinks about the injuries, but I guess when it rains, it pours :(. I hope the new running path and gym will come in handy and keep you from getting hurt so you won’t have to DNS anymore. It’s great to read the update and a good reminder to do the little things!

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  2. That totally sucks to have so many injuries in a row after being injury-free for so long. I run mostly on ashpalt and I don’t really do much to change it up – in the winter I guess I use the treadmill more but for me, uneven surfaces give me the most problems which should make for an interesting first trail ultra this coming weekend! Best of luck with the continued healing.

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  3. Oh gosh! Brick?!?! I try to avoid sidewalks as much as possible because they’re uneven, too. I’m almost all roads, with dirt trails thrown in on occasion (I’d love to be on trails more but it’s a logistical thing). Nice deductive reasoning skills!

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