Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Mo' Better Reason

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  • Damian Christie,

    The bursitis is a symptom of undertraining.

    Ironically Edward, in this case it isn't. Whatever happened to it (and I'm still not sure), happened during a very casual short run, which was supposed to be the first run of my 14 week training regime. I ran slowly for about 20 minutes, and towards the end noticed I was limping a bit. The next morning I could barely walk.

    At the time I was receiving physio for a problem with the bursa in both my shoulders (caused by overtraining at the gym during my detox), so there was a bit of concern it might have been something systemic. Apparently it's not though, and the heel is okay again, but my shoulders are still a bit twingy, quite a few months on...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report

  • Gabor Toth,

    How was Melbourne?

    Best of luck with the running by the way, but do consider road cycling if you are thinking about keeping up with this fitness malarkey for the medium-long term. With well set-up road bike you can achieve very high levels of fitness but you don't get the punishing hammering of the body that comes from running. Of course there is the small issue of being knocked over, but in small groups it's reasonably safe. I know a few folk in their 50's whose bodies are now suffering from all the running they did in their 30's and 40's (knees, hips etc...).

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report

  • Damian Christie,

    Yeah Gabor, I agree completely. I recently bought a new bike for exactly that reason - well that and the fact that by biking you get the benefit of incorporating fitness with transport. I can bike to work instead of scootering - and while it's humanly possible I suppose, I can't imagine ever running 10km to work and then home again at the end of the day.

    I think the long(ish) distance running will end with this half marathon. But who knows.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report

  • Damian Christie,

    Oh, and Melbourne was great thanks, I'll be blogging about it shortly... and Indonesia... I just had to get the Movember blog out first.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report

  • dyan campbell,

    lame with an inflamed bursa in my heel

    Do you mean the heel as in under your foot, or do you mean at the back of your foot where your shoe fits? An accurate diagnosis is the best way to a fast recovery. A podiatrist may be your best bet - good orthotics can go a long way to easing the pain immediately.

    This link is a pretty good description of the different types of heel pain you might get. Heel Bursitis

    Bursitis can take ages to settle down, even if you diagnose and treat is well. Take care if you get a steriod injection or take NSAIDs, as they will make the pain and inflammation magically disappear (good) but trick you into thinking you can thrash (bad) what is still an unhealed injury. Just put ice on it (RICE - rest, ice, compression, elevation) every time you use it, even if if feels awful. Often ice on an injury doesn't feel as nice as you might imagine, but it's worth persisting with ice, (ten minutes or so after a run should do it) as it can help speed up recovery a lot.

    I know a few folk in their 50's whose bodies are now suffering from all the running they did in their 30's and 40's (knees, hips etc...).

    Hey, wait a minute... I'm 52 and I didn't take up running (distance anyway) until I was in my 30s. You NZers frighten me with how early you put yourselves out to pasture. Good god, I only just grew out of being unable to walk past a rope swing without leaping on it and playing for an hour. I'm pretty sure I have several more decades of running left in me, and I was flattened (literally, like the road runner cartoons) by a car 14 years ago. I wound up with exposed bone in my legs in 3 places - no broken bones though - a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, messed up the cartilage in both knees. And a brain injury, mild in the scheme of things, but numbers and sequential tasks are much harder for me now and my personality changed dramatically.

    I had a brilliant surgeon Barry Teitjens who did the most amazing ACL reconstruction and I have to say my knee is almost as good as new - though I cannot drag a snowboard up a ski hill with one leg - I have to carry it, which is a drag - but other than that my knees are fine. I still run (only about 4 -5 km and sadly at about 20 minutes now) but it's a big myth that running will mess up your joints. It keeps joints healthy actually.

    Running shouldn't hammer your body. We're designed to run, but form is everything. Most people have weak abductors, adductors, hip flexors and butt muscles, weak abdominals. If you have engaged in selective sports or activities often you have one set of muscles that is very well developed in isolation - I became a keen runner in middle age and while I was averaging more than 75 km a week I was barely doing anything else - a swim here and there - no upper body work at all. I went to the gym and I had freakishly strong legs like a kangaroo and yet could barely do 2 chin ups in a row. It's very easy to overlook whole muscle groups, and that's a big factor in injuring ourselves - you pull joints out of alignment slightly or develop poor biomechanical movements by being strong somewhere and weak somewhere else. Add to that a badly formed feet, a bad foot strike or bad follow through and you are set up for injury.

    That's why disciplines like tai chi, yoga, pilates or barre exercises are so good - they concentrate on each muscle group specifically.

    Concentrating on form and not speed is so important. Perfect form and speed will follow. It's worth getting some specific running advice on a treadmill to check everything out. Basically you want to strike on the heel and in a very fluid movement propel your knee precisely over the middle two toes of your foot, and the lift off from the toes should be effortless - mostly from the momentum of the footstrike. If you're pounding the pavement you are wasting valuable energy and you want the strike - roll - lift off to be pretty much silent and effortless and should feel like you weigh nothing. If your knee goes in (knock knees) your abductors and adductors and hip flexors (one or all) are too weak and you are asking for knee trouble. Fix this with practice and all speed, stamina and injury prevention will take care of itself.

    Tip - when truly exhausted at the .75 mark of the run, let your arms go floppy for a few moments while running, you can harvest a bit of energy from not tensing your shoulders and elbows for a few metres. You would be surprised how little tricks like that can give you energy when you think you're exhausted.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report

  • Grant McDougall,

    Damien, how did you go ?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'm beginning to think he don't wanna talk about it :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Edward Sargisson,

    So, Damien, I checked the results and I see there's a DNF for you.

    Oh well - that happens. Can I suggest you could use it as motivation to go back, do the training, and get the finish?

    That's what I did when I got a DNF. Mind you, I completed that distance here in Canada instead of in the race that I actually DNFed but it's a very good feeling when you do get the finish.

    Re: Gabor's comment about running being punishing. That's why you train. Your body compensates and you get stronger. I've never seen a scientific study that backed that claim up. One study, quoted here shows that running is associated with less osteoarthritis.

    Mind you, that's one of the reasons why I run on trails for most of my long runs. The surface is more forgiving and the technical nature makes the runs far, far more interesting. I'm not sure I could stand the idea of running another road marathon anymore.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • dyan campbell,

    Re: Gabor's comment about running being punishing. That's why you train. Your body compensates and you get stronger. I've never seen a scientific study that backed that claim up. One study, quoted here shows that running is associated with less osteoarthritis.

    Very true - body's ability to restore itself is really amazing.

    I checked the results and I see there's a DNF

    That might be the best thing in the short term if there was significant pain from the bursitis. Pain is a good warning sign - bursitis will heal eventually, but even in children it can take months to settle down, and in adults it can take so long you can wind up convinced it's never going to go away. It can take literally years if you keep re-injuring it.

    A good accurate diagnosis of the problem, good remedy (orthotics, physio treatment or a combination) as well as really being careful about not thrashing is a good thing. Also if you run with anything sore you wind up running funny, and you get a sore back/neck/knee/hip/foot from running lopsided in some fashion. It's good to build up slowly, but I can sympathise as it can be frustrating to have to slow down just when you don't want to.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report

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