I started taking running seriously in 2015. And I slowly began to run faster and longer. I really thought I was invincible and a 4-minute per kilometer pace is within reach… but then I got injured.
Any injury is a huge setback for aspiring runners. It can make all of your hard work disappear and bring you back to square one.
I suffered a knee-related injury on my right patellar region. The only “good thing” about it is that the fees for the doctor and rehabilitation were all covered by the health card provided by my company.
Below are some of the lessons that I learned because of my injury.
1. Follow the 10% Rule of Weekly Mileage Increase
A common mistake made by new runners is testing the limit of their body and trying to run as far as they can even though they only just acquired the habit.
I am one of those fools. After running 3km on day 1, I immediately run 18kms 3days later because I just feel like it.
As a rule of thumb, runners should only increase the weekly mileage by 10%; meaning, if you ran 10km this week, add 10% so the following week you may run 11km of accumulated mileage.
2. Never Underestimate the Healing Magic of Rest
Much of this blog is dedicated to remind me and inform others about the mistakes that I’ve made while starting out running.
As an employee with limited time, I was lucky enough to find the time and build the habit of the sport, but one thing I ignored was the day of rest. I was so excited to improve quickly that I had weeks when I ran every day.
After being injured, I realized that rest is as integral as running itself when it comes to this sport.
As runners, we often just like to run ignoring the fact that it is also important to strengthen other parts of our body.
If you would notice, triathletes are less likely to get injured because they train their other muscle groups through biking and swimming.
I just started adding strength training to my training plan.
4. Listen to your Body
It is easier to rest for a couple of days if you’re feeling some pain and discomfort than to miss an entire month or even a whole racing season.
If the pain persists after a week, it would be best to have it checked by medical professionals.
5. The Amazing Wonder of Muscle Memory
I missed almost three whole months of training and running because of the injury; and I told myself that it would be hard to return to my previous fitness level.
The amazing thing is that my body still remembers how to do the proper and efficient way of running. It may take a little more time to regain the pace and stamina that I lost but it is a start.
Our body is an amazing creation of God and we should take care of it. An injury can sideline you for a moment but just try to recover and hit back to the pavement.