Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s day 7 of the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak! I started off pretty strong in milage, but quickly realized that I probably was not prepared for this challenge. Going from a running schedule of 3 runs per week, most of which were 3-5 miles each, to running every day without a break was harder than I thought. I’ve been having a nagging pain in the muscles on the back of my left knee, so I’ve recently been taking more running breaks than usual. After my 6 miler on Saturday, I was so tired and in so much pain that I really thought about giving up. Not only did the muscles on the back of my knees hurt, but my left hip started hurting too and it became difficult to walk. At that point I realized that I can’t really do this challenge the way that most other runners do it – I have to do this challenge in a way that’s healthy and safe for me. So I dialed back my milage to only 1 mile a day, foam rolled twice a day, and iced all my painful muscles. Since Saturday I’ve seen a huge difference in the way I’m feeling! I’m still tired and achey, but it’s manageable now and I can definitely see myself getting through the next 28 days without having to give up! I realized that the point of this challenge isn’t to do as many miles as you possibly can, but just to make sure that running is a fun part of your daily routine during the holidays. And even though it feels really weird to only run one mile at a time, I’m willing to take it slow to make sure that I get through this challenge in one piece. But I should be back to my usual 3 milers soon (maybe later today? The weather is so warm here in Philly!)
So for those of you feeling more pain in your legs than usual, I strongly recommend using a foam roller after each run! I was kind of not interested in using a foam roller for a while, but now I can’t belive how much time I wasted being sore after running! I found my foam roller for $15 at TJ Maxx, but I know they have them at Target and so many places online too. Then I had to figure out how to use the thing! Luckily Runner’s World has this amazing article, complete with videos that demonstrate how to target each muscle. The first time I used my foam roller I felt really silly and was falling all over the place. But I was amazed by how much it actually hurt to use it! After my first foam rolling session I breifly thought about not using it anymore, but I did have to admit that I felt better the next day after using it. Now I’m at the point where it doesn’t even hurt to use it in some spots anymore! The pain on the back of my knees is much more manageable and I’m defintiely going to continue to use my foam roller at least once a day so that I can stay injury free.
Have you been foam rolling but you still feel some pain after a long run? I also absolutely love the advice from Matters of Course about how to not die after a long run. While I’m not really down with the ice bath idea (yet), I’m beginning to realize that by skipping all of that post-run recovery stuff I’m actually hurting myself in the long run. Runners have to do more than just run, you know?
Do you have a foam roller? What else do you do to stay injury-free while running, especially during a run streak?