Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Runners' Playlist of Hurtin' Songs

"Patience is also a form of action" - Auguste Rodin

The biggest hits on the Runners' Hurtin' Songs Playlist often shuffle back onto replay if you aren't attentive to your body's signals. Achy Breaky Achilles is a chart topper, for sure. While My Plantar Gently Weeps is the most understated of titles if things go bad. And don't download any of the IT Band's headbanger stuff, because it ain't fun at all.

To run or not to run. Is that little pain in your heel a signal that you have developed a debilitating case of Plantar Fasciitis, or is it just the result of running a couple of miles more than you ought to have done yesterday? Is your heartbeat unacceptably high, or is that just Your Normal? These questions are part of a runner's life, and how you deal with them is the trick to how successful your running career will be.

I was constantly beset by Achilles related pains when I first started running. I was doing a lot of things wrong; wearing shoes down to the nub, ramping up mileage far too quickly, striding incorrectly... I was essentially the Runner's Anti Manual. But as I started to listen to the advice of veteran runners, my doctor, masseuse, physiotherapist, I started to correct some of my most glaring mistakes.

Listen to your body. If you have pain, there is a reason. You will learn to understand different aches and pains from experience, from research, from professionals such as doctors and physical therapists, and from fellow runners. And ultimately, you - yes, you - have to decide whether you are going to run or not.

Give yourself time to heal, avoid doing blatantly unwise things that will hamper your progress, but whatever you do, don't stop running and working out. Terry Fox ran a marathon a day for months with a primitive prosthetic and advancing lung cancer, so surely you can find a way to amp up those miles and give your body the work it needs and deserves. Find the balance that's right for you.

Oh, and don't forget to have fun!