Why I run pt.7

Green bandages

Injuries

Ok, I don’t run to pick up injuries or want to brandish my most gruesome stories but injuries are a part of the experience. When I say injuries, I mean the full scope from little niggles to serious time delaying muscle and ligament issues. Injuries ground your level of super. Being injury free with regular training can accelerate you to your limits, a slight knock or twist can cancel out the gains. My injury status is intrinsically connected to my mental state, if I can stay positive and clear headed I tend to be able to keep my running on track. It’s important to constantly work on overall strength and conditioning and I use a combination of climbing and hang board training, yoga and stretching to stay largely injury free. It’s a perfect balance for me strength+suppleness+endurance and speed.

A tapestry of injuries

Having spent most of my life being as active as possible I’ve had a few significant injuries that have left an imprint on how I now move. I pulled my right hamstring when I was a young swimmer and it is always the first part of body that feels the distance or cold. The right side of my body usually exchanges slight strains through more intense training periods from my ankle, through my knee to my hip. My right shoulder and arm has had a few climbing issues and I now subconsciously run with my trigger finger pointing out. Most race photos capture this hand form I was completely oblivious to. I tore a muscle in my back climbing which left me frozen like a dead spider, this is reflected in a very upright running style and limited movement in the middle of my back. None of these injuries were that serious, I’m just aware of the impact they’ve had on my movement and physicality and they help to define how I now run and move.

Seen and unseen injuries

Fellrunning is a tough sport over extreme terrain and a sport that causes fairly gruesome looking injuries. There is rarely a race without a competitor falling and exhibiting a surface injury; cut limbs; twisted ankles and bruised bones and often some far worse. The competitors mirror the sport, they’re tough, understated and durable and they carry their injuries as an investment into the reality of tackling the unforgiving dominion. Injuries and accidents paint a picture of the nature of a sport and defines how we collectively approach and train for sports.

Injuries don’t have to be seen to be there, part of the impact of injury can be mental and how we run can be a reflection of our mental state. Running can help heal internal injuries, helping to reset physically or giving headspace to reset mentally. Overcoming a physical challenge is often as much a mental achievement as it is a physical one, the two states go hand in hand. Knowing a lot of runners, I see the direct positive impact running brings to friends and fellow competitors and the impact injuries can have. This is all very serious but it brings me on to the most important point…

Don’t let injuries distract from the fun

Injuries of one kind or another are inevitable especially if you do a sport that carries risk. Flying down a hill doesn’t always go as smoothly as expected. The surface injuries are a bit of fun, scrapes, bumps and scratches are easily forgotten with a bit of adrenaline and a good talking point if they leave a mark. The risk of longer term injuries needs to be balanced with the risk taken or how much you train with small injuries you’re trying to shake. Having a very experienced Sports Therapist as a brother is handy to be kept grounded with the right balance of advice. The overarching message is keep on moving, as soon as you stop it’ll be hard to get going again.

Has there been an injury that has defined the way you run or move?

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