Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast we’re talking about how healing leaves clues, but they are often subtle.
You know the results aren’t always obvious and we always want obvious signs when we’re trying to heal and recover from something like metatarsal stress fracture or Achilles tendonitis or peroneal tendonitis or some other issue that’s keeping us from running and training as much as we want. But it’s not always obvious.
Think about what happens when you are training. Think about your pace when you run.
You go out and you run and most of us who run know what it feels like to run at a certain pace like our marathon pace or our based training pace. Let’s say you’re used to running nine minute miles and you start ramping up your training and you get a little bit faster and then you’re running eight and a half minute miles. It’s probably kind of hard for you to just go out for a run without a watch, without a GPS and actually run and stay on pace at eight and a half minute miles for ten miles without really doing something to see are you on track or not.
So even when you run you’re actually tracking what you’re doing the entire run. You’re looking at it every once in a while to see are you staying on pace, are falling off, what’s the deal? And you have to track those things. That’s why we actually use these devices to record all that information for us automatically.
Think about your heart rate. I know because I’ve done fifteen Ironman races. I know what it feels like when I’m running and my heart rate is at a hundred thirty-five. I also know what it feels like when it is one hundred eighty. It is completely different.
So if I’m doing a race and my heart rate is in the one fifties or creeping up to the one sixties, I have to do something to fix that. I can’t run a marathon with my heart rate out of control on a hot day. I have to do something to control my heart rate. But again I’m tracking things and monitoring things and readjusting all the time. When you’re actually training you have certain things you can follow. Your pace based on GPS or timing your heart rate based on a heart rate monitor. And of course your perceived exertion.
All of these things give you clues to do on how you are doing, how your fitness is progressing and you can look at them and analyze the trends and make decisions on what to do next.
When you are healing you also get evidence of healing but it can be much more subtle. It isn’t always obvious. You have pain, bruising and swelling. Bruising is the worst sign but you only have that when you have a really serious injury with a lot of tissue damage. Swelling only happens when you’re having an acute injury or rebound inflammation because you’re applying too much stress to that tissue and it’s continually swelling. So these are really are the things you have to look at and see. But then you have pain.
If you have pain when you’re running and you feel that pain and you can pay attention to it, that’s a really useful piece of information to monitor. Put a number on it, rate it, decide what it is to you. Is it a five out of ten? Is it a two out of ten? What is it? But then if you can actually increase your activity without the number going up, that’s an improvement. If you can continue to keep activity the same and that pain continues to go down, that’s an improvement.
The problem is when you are a runner, those things are very subtle and they’re actually hard for you to notice because you are a runner and so you have a much higher pain threshold than other people. So it’s harder for you to actually notice that pain because you are training. All of your experience, everything that made you a strong runner are things that actually make it possible for you to tune up that discomfort and so it is hard for you to notice it because we do not want to notice discomfort. We actively tune discomfort out when we are running. But you have to look for those subtle clues.
Also you have to make sure that just because you are an athlete, when you’re running I mean this is the second part of that is that when you are running, you have endorphins that actually start to flow after a couple of miles and that can mask those discomfort, those little subtle clues also. So you have to be very careful about noticing those things.
What I tell runners most of the time when I talk about often on these calls during the One Run Away Challenge is I basically tell them “Look, you may or may not feel that much when you’re running. In my case I have been running for many many years and trying to pay attention to these little clues of healing, little clues of tissue damage, little discomfort, pain, tenderness, all of it. And I know for me If I have something that is injured and I go out and test it and I go run and I have pain for the first couple of miles, for me when I start to get endorphins somewhere between two and three miles that pain dissipates. And they usually continue to dissipate until about ten miles and then the pain comes back. So running less than three miles for me is a fairly reliable time to analyze discomfort”.
For me running more than ten miles, anything from ten miles on, I can make a fair call
about whether or not I’m actually feeling pain but only during those times. Again, it’s very subtle.
That is the stuff you have to look for though. You have to realize that you’re not going to be able to feel the pain and discomfort all the time when you’re running. But there are other times when you can. If you go for a run and you don’t feel much of anything but then you have a lot of discomfort that evening, that’s a useful thing. If you have discomfort the next morning that’s a useful thing. By the same token if you go for a three-mile run and you have no discomfort later that evening and no discomfort the next morning then you can assume that run was safe. But these of the subtle things you have to look for.
Again healing leaves clues but it’s often very very subtle, so look carefully.
I would like to invite you to join what may be the most effective and most cost-effective way for you to get back on track when you have any kind of overtraining injury. If you feel stuck and you feel like you are not getting anywhere.
One of the secrets to recovering like an elite athlete, like a professional is to take a step-by-step approach and step-by-step evaluation and little actions every single day.
So what I created is the One Run Away Challenge.
The fact is you are only one step away from the next phase of your recovery. You are only one run away from your next long run.
The One Run Away Challenge is going to help you with the step-by-step instructions over a 10 day course to figure out what you are doing that’s keeping you stuck, figure out what you are doing wrong, what you have been missing and what you are not doing.
Not only will I give you the step-by-step instructions on how to make those determinations as you go through this process all on your own, I will actually support you and lead you by the hand as we go through this process. I will be doing six WebCam calls per week, where you can call, come and check in with me. Ask me anything you want, ask me any specific questions and get very specific directions live from me throughout the entire process.
Join the One Run Away Challenge!
Enrollment is open only for a short period of time and then it closes again because we only have 25 places available because I have to be able to answer people’s questions. It is only 25 people at a time, so if you want one of those seats go to DocOnTheRun.com/CHALLENGE and make sure that you grab your seat.
I’ll see you there!
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