Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Answers to Mammoth Mail

I just got this question from Meredith J. She writes, "Ok Mark, we need to talk about how to get started running. Sure there is the C25K app to get someone started but that doesn't tell anyone how to deal/ treat/ cope with shin splints, chafed thighs etc. these annoying issues have discouraged me in the past, Got any tips to pass on here?" 

Meredith brings up excellent points. All of the apps out there to support our running habit have very little advice to give on how to run successfully. My WoW Coach Michael Williams says that the main key to being ready for a marathon is showing up to the start line healthy. So I thought I would take your questions one at a time.

Shin Splints: They suck! No question about it. When I was first starting at H3 I got them and man did they hurt. Mammoths I was in so much pain I actually considered the catheter so I wouldn't have to get up to go to the bathroom it hurt that bad. Jeff Ford then turned me on to a concept called RICE. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate your legs. Rest means that you do just that. Take a day off here and there or cross train with an activity that does not use the legs in a pounding fashion (swimming would be a good rehab for shin splints). Remember this is inflammation so combat that with Ice. 20 on, 20 off for an hour. Compress is a hard one for me Mammoths because most of the compression gear is built for our slender running cousins, Gazelles I will call them from now on. I use an Ace Bandage to compress but you can use a towel just as long as it is snug and giving you the benefit of compression. The last is Elevate. I use an orthopedic wedge at night when I sleep when I have to elevate. The keey to elevation is to make sure your feet are above your heart. RICE can see you through most injuries. A good website for this is Shin Splint Website

Chaffing: Another sucky thing! To combat chaffing it is really very easy! Go to any sports store and buy some Glide. Once you get the Glide put it on all the bits that are going to rub, even your nipples (trust me on this). The Glide will give enough lubrication to prevent friction which causes chaffing. Glide is awesome. Check out the Body Glide Website for more information.

Plantar Fasciitis: Alright out of the three this sucks the worst! Basically the long tendon in your foot starts to be inflamed and hurts so much Mammoths that you just want to chop your foot off and get a new one. Unfortunately we can't do that so we have to do the next best thing which is stretch it out and do cold therapy. For me I use a can of peas or corn that I put in the freezer and when mine activates and hurts I take the can and roll it on the bottom of my foot. Does it hurt? Hell yes but after a while the tendon stretches and you feel a ton better.To learn more about Plantar Fasciitis go to this website. Gazelles have these issues too but we Mammoths are more susceptible to them so we have to be more on guard. A great strategy for cold therapy is some advice I got from a Gazelle. She told me that I should use a bag of peas instead of ice bags because you get all of the benefits without the mess, and she was so right.

Meredith and my other Mammoths the thing you have to understand is that you are going to experience some discomfort. For a lot of us this may be the first time since college/high school/ military service that we have gotten up and started moving pretty regularly. Discomfort is a part of the process. Overcoming this discomfort is part and parcel to what we do as Mammoths out there running with Gazelles. Get into your mind that a little discomfort is okay, straight up pain is not! If you are feeling pain you should immediately stop what you are doing RICE and if the pain persists or rears its ugly head at your next workout go to the Doctor! No Pain, No Gain was never said by anyone who is a serious runner. One of the best parts of Spirit of the Marathon (a documentary about normal people and a professional runner who participate in the Chicago Marathon) was when this one guy who dreams of running the Boston Marathon is told he can't run the race in Chicago which he needs to do to qualify for Boston. He is devastated by this news but he rehabs and we learn later that he did meet his goal. Why did he meet his goal? He listened to his body and went to the Doctor.

Those are my thoughts on the issues raised in today's Mammoth Mail by Meredith J. I hope you found some pearls of wisdom in there and you get back out on the range! As for the rest of you Mammoths I hope you enjoy your rambles on the range, stick close to a good watering hole, and as always be mindful of what you are grazing on!

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