I began running when I was 18-years-old, and have been running ever since. (Though I admit, from September 2011-February 2012, my frequency and distance was pretty sad). Running has never been complicated for me, I’ve just done what felt right and never worked too hard at it. That is, until my recent discovery that I was out of shape, and my new desire to run my first full marathon.
Because running has been a natural thing for me, I find that as I’m working to get better and stronger, there’s a lot I don’t know. For me until now, it’s always been about having running shoes and heart and that was about it. I didn’t worry about injuries, because I never really had any (except once when I ran a few miles on sand – OUCH!).
Well, now that I’ve discovered how my strength has diminished, I’m motivated to get strong again. Which means that I’m going beyond what feels comfortable and natural, setting goals for myself, and hoping to improve. This new effort also includes new risk: Injuries.
Like I said, I’ve never had running injuries before, so I haven’t had to think much about how to mend them. But last week my shin started to hurt, and I knew that it was probably because I’ve been pushing myself harder than I really need to. I didn’t really know what to do about the shin other than to not run on it. I decided to take a day off, and it felt much better the following day…until after my run the following day, when it hurt again. Thankfully, someone told me to ice it. I have never iced anything other than a burn or a bump, so I honestly did not realize that icing my shin might help. After my next run, I put a bag of frozen peas on my shin, and found that it felt just fine, and I was able to run again the next day…followed by more frozen peas.
I began to wonder if it made sense to ice a potential injury…I mean, I knew that it hurt the week before, but does it really make sense to ice something that might be just fine?
A little bit of googling led me to two helpful articles. They indicate that not only does it make sense to ice a potential injury, it’s even better to do an ice bath rather than simply applying ice. Supposedly ice baths assist with repair and reduce risk of injury! Perfect!
My plan right now is to continuing icing the shin after my weekday training runs, and to try my first ice bath this weekend after my long run. It sounds terribly uncomfortable, but if it keeps me strong and healthy, I think it will be worth it! (I’ll report back on how I feel about the worth of an ice bath after my first one this weekend!)