#226 Grey areas are really slowing you down - DOC

#226 Grey areas are really slowing you down

Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast we’re talking about how the grey areas in training and the grey areas in healing are what is really slowing you down.



“All in moderation.”

I’m not sure who said that, but it definitely was not an endurance athlete. 

Unfortunately the idea of training in moderation, treatment of running injuries in moderation and everything in between has infected the recovering runner’s world. 

I had a chance to sit down with 6-time Ironman World Champion and the greatest endurance athlete of all time, Mark Allen. Mark has been successfully coaching runners and triathletes for decade. 

And during our discussion, Mark discusses in great detail the dangers having grey zones in your marathon, triathlon and Ironman training. 

We do our speed work too slow and our base training too fast. As a consequence of that moderation of our workouts we do not reap the full benefit nor the intended purpose of either of those workout sessions. 

Our, “just a little too fast” base training sessions don’t really build our aerobic fitness as efficiently as it could, nor does it train our bodies to burn fat efficiently.

When we are overworked, tired or we are just doing too many training sessions in a given week, our speed sessions are just a little too slow. When are speed work fails to pull the needed power out of us, our endocrine system does not respond in the way that we hope. We don’t release as much growth hormone, we don’t build as much strength as we could if we were just doing the workout a little bit harder.

I see the exact same situation in many of the runner’s recovery plans.

All day, I think about running injuries, see elite athletes in person and talk to runners through webcam visits and personal consultations. 

Runners call me when they are not getting better. 

Injured runners almost never call me when they first get injured. 

Most runners go see their usual doctors first. The doctors tell them to stop running. The doctors tell them to train less. The doctors tell them to rest. And even though they are barely training and doing much less than they were before, the injured runners fitness is vanishing in front of them. 

They fail to heal. 

I believe Mark Allen is 100% correct in his assessment of the dangers of the grey areas in training. 

I also believe 100% there is a direct corollary with healing a running injury.  

Most doctors shy away from bad customer service. Many doctors are afraid to hand crutches to a runner, or fit you with a fracture walking boot. 

Part of the reason for this timidity in aggressive early treatment of running injuries is that most doctors are stuck in rigid standardized treatment algorithms that require most of these injuries to be treated with the expectation of four weeks of crutches or six weeks in a fracture walking boot. 

Although I have written many articles about the dangers of chronic immobilization of athletic patients and runners, I do believe that I am on the aggressive side when it comes to short-term aggressive treatment. This includes the use of fracture boots and crutches.

I often see runners who have plantar plate injuries, stress fractures, stress reactions and stress responses as well as other injuries like Achilles tendonitis that haven not gotten better quickly. 

In many of these cases, I completely believe those running injuries would have healed with only a few days of strict immobilization in a fracture walking boot and possibly just a few days on crutches. 

The runner’s body is primed to heal. Your athletic, trained body is a physiologically efficient machine. Your cells know what to do. But you have to give them an opportunity to do it. 

If you just stop running, you rest enough to become miserable and spend a bunch of time walking, hiking or riding a bike, yet still put too much stress on the injured tissue it just isn’t going to heal. 

You can do that grey-healing routine for weeks and it may not help.

If you haven’t already listen to it go to Doc On The Run Podcast episode 225 and listen to everything Mark Allen has to say about recovering in building fitness. Think about what he says and how you can apply that to your healing running injury.

Above all else you have to make sure your doctor understands your intention is not just to heal that tissue. You want to run. 

And you want to get back to running as quickly as possible. If you are emphatic about your intentions and your desire to immediately get back to running, even if that requires you to endure a little bit of short-term suffering, make it clear to your doctor. 

If you haven’t already done so print out the injured runners goal worksheet. Fill it out. Take it to your doctor’s appointment have it in front of you when you schedule a consultation call. And being clear on those goals will help your doctor to refocus and redirect all available resources at healing your running injury and getting you back to running as quickly as possible. 

Download the Healing Runner’s Goal Worksheet. It will help you take what you know about goal setting in running and use what you already know to focus your healing. It’s free. Go get it now!

Healing Runner’s Goal Worksheet


If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me <a