Confession: I’ve run lots of miles and made lots of stupid running choices for years with minimal issues and almost no injuries. But every once in a while, I do something that lands me on the injured reserve. Luckily, I have all the things to get myself back up and running fairly quickly. Here are the things I recommend every runner have to both prevent and help heal running injuries.
- Foam Roller – this simple, inexpensive tool is perhaps the most important thing every runner should have in their arsenal. A few minutes spent rolling before and after a run can make all the difference in the world. There are a ton of routines on various running sites, but Amanda at Run to the Finish has a great overview of foam rolling for runners.
- Exercise bands – Running is a primarily movement in one direction, especially if you are a road runner and not dealing with obstacles you might find on a trail. Because of this, runners often find that they are weaker through the hips, glutes, and in side to side movements. Want to get your glutes firing? Do a Monster Walk. Another favorite for me is clamshells with a band.I have pain in my ankle right now – guess where it originates? Yep, weak glutes and a tight hip.
- A firm ball – Most people suggest a lacrosse ball, but I had this amazing ball that was slightly bigger that I loved. Had being the operative word here. My son and his friends “borrowed” it yesterday and lost it. I’m still crying. I’ve also ordered a new set of balls from Amazon already. My favorite use for a ball (and why I like it a bit bigger) is to put it against the wall and slowly rotate my glute against it.
- Oofos – I hate any shoe with that piece between my toes. I NEVER wear flip flops. Ever. But Oofos recently came out with a low shoe and I bought a pair on a whim when I was picking up my 17.75 packet. Best.Purchase.Ever. While I kind of think they are ugly, they have played a crucial role as I’m rehabbing my ankle and foot. Even when I was at the worst part, I could walk without pain when I had my Oofos on.
- A chiropractor and/or a massage therapist – Everyone should have one they trust that is familiar with runners and their issues. I’m lucky because I have both. A good sports chiropractor can help speed injury resolution with Active Release Technique and other methods.
I am about a week from my first Ultra Ragnar and I ran 3 times yesterday, mostly without pain.
I did have to foam roll and use my ball between each run, but I was able to make it so I did not hurt on the run and I actually feel pretty good today (a little sore because I’ve barely run in 3 weeks, but good.) I also went immediately from my running shoes to my Oofos after each run. In fact, I’m sitting here in my pajamas and my Oofos right now. I might also have booked appointments with both my chiropractor and my massage therapist for the week AFTER the race.