By Chuck Finder
Listen to your body. Heed its warnings.
There is still plenty of time to repair, recover or even
miss weeks of training before embarking upon more miles of preparation for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh
May 5, physical therapist Tara Ridge, M.S., P.T., told runners at UPMC
Montefiore on Saturday.
“Persistent pain leads to altered mechanics,” Ridge told the
Ladies Hospital Auxiliary Society Auditorium crowd in this second of three
marathon seminars sponsored by UPMC
, where she oversees its physical-therapy residency program.
“That’s what we want to prevent, the spread of those injuries over the
Good pain – yes, there is such a thing – comes in the form
of joint discomfort after a workout or stiffness that dissipates when you
exercise or stretch properly. All are varieties that should go away
within 24 hours.
Bad pain keeps you awake at night, worsens as you run or
walk, alters how you stride or perform other mechanics. That is pain you cannot
live or train with, so go see a sports-medicine specialist.
Ridge provided a wide array of tips
about training while injured
, and wanted the long-distance runners – many
of them in their first or second marathon
or half-marathon – to avoid four
common training mistakes:
The simple rules for injuries: If it’s stiff, heat it up; if
it’s joint pain, cool it down (or bring down the swelling) with ice. RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation – remains the
best acronym for regaining health. Ice compresses should last 20 minutes every
two hours. For specific site tenderness and swelling, fill a paper cup with
water, freeze it and use it as a cooling massage device.
- Training Error No. 1: Persistent
high-intensity training without lower-intensity workouts. In other words,
you have to vary, such as cross-training. And sprinkle in days off.
- Training Error No. 2: Sudden increase in
mileage and intensity without adequate rest. “Recovery time is
crucial because the body has a repair process. Without the repair process, you
build in inflammation,” Ridge said. Someone returning from an injury or
time off should still limit his/her increase in mileage by 10 percent each week
and alternate the workout’s intensity from easy to hard.
- Training Error No. 3: Single, severe
training or competitive sessions. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon
after all. You've got a long way to go, so take it easy.
- Training Error No. 4: Repetition,
repetition. This can be avoided simply if someone who trains on a track
makes sure to reverse direction every other day. This can also be hard to break
old habits. Four of five injuries come from overtraining, and once again
modifications and cross-training come into play.
Be careful, though. Don’t mask pain with ice and
over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If an injury or ache persists for two to three days and if alternating workouts and intensity plus changing exercises or
equipment fails to pacify the pain, stop training and see a physician, Ridge