[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=knee+injury&iid=5283548″ src=”d/b/8/e/man_using_an_841b.jpg?adImageId=8851111&imageId=5283548″ width=”234″ height=”234″ /]This week has had me thinking a lot about balance. Wednesday night, I headed out for a 15 km run along the Danforth. At the eight-kilometer mark, I started getting a sharp pain in my knee and had to stop my run and take the subway back home.

I’m pretty sure it’s just a tight IT band, and that RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) with a trip to my Chiropractor and/or RMT will fix the issue. But I also know that when my body speaks this language to me, it’s not something to ignore — that all the RICE and massages in the world aren’t going to fix the cause of the problem. I’m also not looking to start my marathon training at the end of the month injured.

This all comes as I reach the first anniversary of taking up running. A year ago last night, I attended my first learn to run clinic. I remember being nervous and excited, unsure about what I was getting myself into. Why had I signed up to start learning to run in January again?

That's me running my first race — the Achilles 5k last March. This was the goal race of the learn to run clinic I took.

The last year has been an amazing adventure with lots of new friends, fantastic accomplishments and me finding myself in the best health of my life. It’s humbling to look back and realize that I’ve come from a run one-minute, walk two ratio, to being able to run 30 km non stop.

Since finishing a couple of half marathons last fall, I haven’t really taken much of a break. In fact, I’ve done quite the opposite. I’ve continued to increase my distance and intensity (the marathon clinic I’m taking doesn’t get to a 30 km LSD until week nine of 18). I’ve increased my distance at a safe rate, but haven’t given my body a break longer than a couple of days. In addition I’ve added three to four gym workouts a week, spinning and yoga to the mix. All of these things (workouts, spinning and yoga) are great for cross training and strengthening, but they, along with running, need to be balanced out.

My marathon training starts on January 21, and my “new” goal is to have my knee good to go for it. To achieve that goal, I need to balance my workouts with the need to give my body some down time, both to recover and to rest. I skipped my run last night, and will see how things feel before working out on Saturday or putting in a long, slow distance on Sunday.

Either way, I’m planning on cutting my mileage down significantly over the next couple of weeks and I shall dub this time as “tapering” for my training.

In an ironic twist, my new shoes arrived today. ;-)

Wishing you all injury free trails for 2010!


6 responses to “Balance…

  1. Wise move! This sort of things happens to most of us at some point. For me it was my knees just after joining the gym, and not adjusting my running program. Glad you’re taking it easy. If we actually get a coach for the marathon clinic I’ll be doing it at CC in a few weeks as well.

  2. Matt, we’ve all been there. At the beginning getting all gung-ho because running is so friggin addictive! and ending up injured. You’re young, your body recovers amazingly quickly but you’re wise to give it a rest. I would go as far as say not to run this weekend. If it’s an ITB issue, get it dealt with pronto. Plus you have the fitness, a week is NOT going to make a difference.

    You will go far as a runner, I know it. You just have to get that ying/yang thing sorted out :)

  3. Take care right now before the injury gets worse. You want to be running for many years!

  4. Wise move taking a bit of a breather, it’s flustrating when your body tells you to lay off training for a bit, but there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll come back far stronger!!

  5. I personally find it very hard to back off when I’m injured. There’s always the push to get out there and to work harder and it’s difficult to silence that inner voice. If there’s one thing I would do to improve as a runner, it would be to rest better — not only to rest, persay, but to RELAX as well. Let me know if you figure out how to make that happen…in the mean time, I’ll be the one doing Runner’s yoga to my new DVD! :)

  6. That’s the real challenge, isn’t it? The exercise endorphins are so addictive it’s hard not to keep adding on ad-infinitum, but the body is a delicate mechanism and its limitations need to be respected.

    I say that in a purely theoretical sense — I still haven’t mastered this whole “balance” thing :)

    The new shoes look awesome!

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