It sometimes feels like injuries are unavoidable when you are deeply into a training cycle. Runners get together and often talk of the aches, pains and issues they are dealing with as a result of their sport.
But an easy and avoidable injury is due to our deeply steeped roads in the Pacific NW. Here we have the advantage of many bike lanes and widened roads for us to utilize. And runners do take advantage of this, since they know the material paving the streets has more cushion than the solid concrete of the sidewalks. During the miles and miles of training even the smallest amount of give is appreciated and exploited by a smart runner.
In the early morning hours it is especially tempting to run on the road, when traffic is so light. Example: My (shorter) running partner and I get up and on the roads by 5:30a.m. There are not many cars on our wide suburban streets. We like to run abreast so we can talk, but the trees lining the streets are heavy with dew in the early morning and this tall runner must duck under them. It became our habit for her to run up on the sidewalk and for me to run in the bike lane, facing traffic so that I could scoot up if necessary. I avoided the trees and we could run next to each other and continue our conversation.
After months of this, my left Achilles tendon began to ache. I initially blamed my new running shoes, but since it was only my left side that was affected, the real culprit turned out to be the deeply sloped roads I ran on every morning in the exact same way. My right shoe was on a more level part of the road, but my left was nearly in the gutter and was turned sharply. After months of being stretched and strained, even the most supportive of shoes couldn’t prevent my Achilles from getting injured.
The solution to this injury was simply ice, rest and hopping onto the sidewalks for my morning runs, though I can still feel it months later when I am particularly fatigued. But this injury is completely preventable!