Having an injury makes you think, reassess and contemplate your running before the injury, and also how to approach your running going forwards. I’ve decided I need more structure to my running, so I’ve created eight new rules to run by.
During my current injury I decided this might be a wake-up call to change things about my running going forward. I’m good at doing some crosstraining, such as cycling and CrossFit. Plus twice a week I strength train, which includes lunges, squats and some upper body work. Yet over these last few weeks, I feel like I’ve forgotten about the smaller movements, such as bridges to target mind-muscle connections.
Perhaps we’re good at changing things initially after an injury, but we soon forget our resolutions and just continue on the running treadmill. This time I’m going to write down my rules, with a ‘why’ to each of them. I’ve stuck the rules in the front of my running diary and have a loose copy I move to the start of each month. I’ve also put a copy on the side of my chest of drawers so I see it when I go to sleep and when I wake up. This is in the hope I’lll remember the rules and stick to them.
So here are my 8 new rules for running; I hope they help you too!
1. Have a plan for the upcoming month. Plan my runs and all my other exercise.
WHY? To give structure and a plan to follow. It will enable me to perform well in whatever exercise I’m doing. Planning my weeks will help to reduce the risk of having two tough sessions in a row. for example a sprint session with the club on a Wednesday, followed by a 0730 CrossFit class on the Thursday.
2. Every 4th week have an easy week
WHY? It will enable my body to adapt to the previous weeks of training. It will prepare my body for the next training block. It should help to reduce the risk of injury and it will improve my running in the long run.
3. Make my easy runs EASY
WHY? To give the body time to recover while still doing what I love. Easy runs mean the body is ready to perform well during harder sessions like hill reps.
4. Have a rest day after a half marathon
WHY? This seems a simple one: in order to recover. It will mean I’m ready to have good runs later in the week. However, I’m bad at doing this, especially after an ‘easy’ half. Even though I ran a half at an easy pace, I still have run 13.1 miles.
5. Foam roll regularly
WHY? If I don’t plan it in, then I won’t do it. Foam rolling will help to easy out muscles and reduce the risk of injury, hence why it’s one of my rules for running.
6. Focus on the smaller muscles/movements
WHY? It’s easy to just focus on the big muscles and movements, such as squats and lunges. However to get the best out of your squats, and to be a stronger runner, we need to go small. Time to focus on exercises such as glute bridges, calf raises and one leg balance work. It will make me stronger, which will improve my running.
7. Seek professional help, every 8-12 weeks
WHY? This will act as pre-habilitation and hopefully reduce the risk of injury. The physical therapist will notice things that I don’t, such as poor movement patterns or muscle imbalances that could lead to injury.
8. Have more fun on my runs
WHY? To reduce the monotony of following plans. Plus will make it easier to run ‘easy’ runs at a relaxed pace.
These eight rules are the foundation to my post-injury running, which will hopefully make me not only a stronger but a more efficient runner. I feel that eight rules are plenty and a number I will hopefully stick to.
We would love to hear your rules for running, so please comment with your number one running rule. If I’ve left out a major rule you follow, please let me know and I will add it.