It’s inevitable. If you run on a regular basis, you will get occasional aches and pains. Some are minor inconveniences. Some are major pains in the you know what. (Literally!) In today’s TotR, we are talking about alternative ways to treat running injuries. Check out my fellow bloggers and link-up hosts April, Patty, and Erika, for their takes on taking care of injuries.
I thank my lucky stars all the time that I have never suffered a severe running injury. I didn’t start running until (ahem) age 38, but I’ve received a lot of good advice and tips from other runners and have found alternative ways to deal with what ails me. Now I am sharing some of these tips with you.
I am a true believer in taking care of your body from the inside out. I try to eat healthy. (Most of the time.) And I drink a ton of water every day. I think it is so important to be hydrated.
Quite a Stretch
I have issues with my IT band on my left leg from time to time. While training for the 2014 St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, I developed a major pain in my left knee. I admit it. I was scared, y’all. But a runner friend said, “oh, that’s just your IT band. Do some stretches and you’ll be OK.” Well you know what? He was right! First, I had to figure out what the heck an IT band is and where it is located. Then, I followed some stretching exercises found online. I made it through the St. Jude race just fine. But I finally had the opportunity to consult with a real physical therapist after a group training run. (Thanks, Fleet Feet Nashville!) She explained that my left leg is much weaker than my right leg and showed me exercises and stretches to strengthen it. I am not as diligent as I should be, and I can tell when I’m not stretching it enough.
On a Roll
After a long run, four miles or more, I use this crazy looking device to roll out my muscles.
It’s called The Stick. And it works! At first it tickles, but it soon turns into soothing relaxation. I roll it on my thighs, calves, arches of my feet, even my neck and shoulders. Trust me. Take 10 minutes after your run to roll out your muscles. You will thank me the next day!
The Big Chill
This one is tough. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s downright unpleasant. But when I really run a lot of miles, I suck it up and do it. I’m talking about the ice bath.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Immerse your bottom half into a tub of cold water. Throw in some ice for good measure. This is supposed to constrict blood vessels and flush out lactic acid in your muscles. I usually can stand it for about five minutes, then I take a HOT shower. After my runDisney races, I ditch the ice bath and go straight for a dip in the cool pool, then into the hot tub. This combo of cold and hot makes me less sore the day (and days) after.
So those are my four go-to alternative treatments to treating and preventing running injuries. Do you have any tips on how to treat aches and pains? Share them with me in the comments below.