You may recall that, a few days ago, I revealed my super secret running resolution for 2010: Try to go the whole year injury-free.
But, really, that's a goal everyone should shoot for, whether you're pushing 50, like me, or still a coltish 20-something.
To that end, I'm excerpting a blog item about injury-free running from Pete Magill, recently named the USATF Masters long distance 45-49 age-group runner of the year. Magill hosts the edifying Younger Legs for Older Runners Web site.
This is the most important gift of all - the gift of injury-free running. Well, okay, there is no such thing as "injury-free running." Heck, I spent a good part of this past year with nasty hip pain. But I also assumed I'd eventually beat it if I just kept doing everything I could - every day, every week, every month. And eventually I did beat it. I figured out it was nothing more than IT Band Syndrome and did a 60 second stretch ... end of hip problem.
And that's the point: we older runners can't afford a single mistake in our training. We can't run too hard one day because we feel "good" - just an fyi, "feeling good" is the goal of training; it's not a green light to train like an idiot. We can't skip icing a sore spot because we're too tired or rushed that day. We can't skip our post-run stretching or exercises - ever. And we certainly can't afford to sit around waiting for our bodies to figure out how to heal chronic injuries. We have to be constantly vigilant, proactive, and reactive.
I remember back in the days before I was a parent. I used to look at babies and toddlers, and I'd think, "Man, it seems like you'd have to keep an eye on those kids every second of every day or they'd kill themselves!" But of course I knew that couldn't be true. No one could spend every second of every minute of every day watching their kid! ... Then I became a parent. And this is what I discovered: you have to watch your kid every second of every minute of every day or your kid will kill himself!
Welcome to training as an "older" runner. This is a No Mistake zone, folks.
Good luck, and here's hoping that 2010 is our best year yet - every one of us!