Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I realized over the weekend that it's been a year since I ran a marathon. This will turn out to be my longest time between marathons since I started running them in 2000. In that time, I've run thousands of miles and been asked, countless times, "How do you not get hurt?" Maybe it was just luck. Maybe that's run out. Ever since the summer, when I made my semi-psychotic push to run under three hours, I haven't been right. It started with the Achilles, which is something that I haven't healed altogether. Then some plantar fasciitis appeared on my right foot, followed finally by a strained calf or tendinitis on the same side. As an Italian friend once said to me at a terrible party, "This is very much the suck."

It's left me wondering how to get better. I've always been a firm believer that all injuries can be diagnosed back to a root cause that can be corrected. Many running injuries arise from the nature of the sport: it's a repetitive, high-impact activity. But lately, I've been training for a triathlon, only running twice a week and doing two other workouts in both swimming and biking. That's what makes this latest injury so frustrating. What all my latest injuries have in common is muscle tightness in my lower legs. This is, I believe, the curse of genes. I'm incredibly inflexible, always have been. For a few years now, I've relied on active-isolated stretching to make me slightly more flexible. That's been alright, although I can sometimes be indifferent to it. That's probably catching up with me now. The good thing is my injuries seem treatable. I don't have knee problems that can spell doom. For the next few days at least, I'm sticking to swimming, hoping to stay in some semblance of shape and heal.

swam 2,000 yards in 50 minutes


Ian Hersey said...

Brian, I got referred to your blog by @kawika. I haven't read enough to fully understand what kind of rehab you've been doing, but like you I'm pretty inflexible and have had various problems over the years (been running for 30 years and doing tris since 1983). If you don't have a foam roller and/or "The Stick," I would start by getting them. In my experience, calf tightness and buildup of scar tissue is the number one cause of Achilles problems and PF.

Good luck with it.

runner-grrl said...

Sorry to hear about your nagging, persistent injuries. I was going to recommend active isolated stretching, but you are already doing this :-) Best wishes in a speedy back to full-on training! --Alex (aka run350)