If you’re running after an overtraining injury, you really need to keep your head up and that’s what we’re going to talk about today on the Doc On The Run podcast.
When running after an injury, you need to keep your head up and what do I mean by that? I don’t mean just keep a good attitude, but literally, physically, you need to make sure that you keep your head up. What happens a lot when we get injured is that we sort of get used to looking down toward the injury, toward our foot, toward our ankle, toward whatever that injury is and it actually pulls us into a defensive posture. We start to hunch over, our form falls apart, and we do all the things that are actually completely counter to everything that we know of as good running form.
You cannot lean over and look at your feet and have good running posture. When you do that, everything gets loaded in ways that are not normal. You cannot focus on your injury. You have to focus on the stuff that still works when you’re actually training and you’re trying to remain in good form. Think about the things that you would do to maintain good running form and good posture when you’re doing speed work on the track, for example. Think about drills that you do that you know are supposed to build good running form. There’s certainly not ones where you lean over and look at your feet. That’s for sure.
One of the ways I think about this is to just stand tall, to actually stand tall physically and keep an upright spine. One of the ways that I’ve heard this described in some of the books on running form is they’ll tell you to actually picture yourself like a marionette with a string coming from the top of your head and pulling that string straight upward to actually pull you into an upright posture.
If you do that, you can’t possibly look at your feet. You can’t look down. You need to focus way ahead, way down the trail, way down the road, keep an upright posture, focus down the road toward your longer running goal. That’s what you really have to do if you want to maintain good posture and it really is this thing that I have noticed and heard many runners describe when we’re meeting live in the injured runners aid station, for example, and I’m answering questions. I’ll hear people say that where they feel like they’re hunched over. They feel like they have this defensive sort of hunched over posture. That is really counterproductive when you’re trying to get back to running. So again, just try to stand up straight, keep your head up, and then head down the road.
Now, if you haven’t checked it out, go check out the 12 Steps presentation. This is a half-hour deep dive where I go into the process I use to actually help you figure out what’s going on, whether or not you can really run, and what you would do going forward once you know what your injury is. You can get it for free at docontherun.com/12steps. So go check it out and I’ll see you in the training.