Friday, June 14, 2013

Why runners get hurt

I received an email from Runners Connect titled "Why Runners Get Hurt".  It started out like this:
Recent research has shown that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year.
Stop. Think about that number for a moment.
Nearly 8 out of every 10 runners you see at your next race have been or will be injured sometime that year.
I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my head was

The reason runners get hurt is because we don't like to quit.  We like to believe we are invincible.  We are superwomen/men.  We can't help it, we want to run the extra mile.   We want the endorphin high.  We want to see how much faster we can do that next half marathon/5k whatever.  We get injured because even though we know better we aren't always patient about progressing our training. We don't want to believe our medical professionals when they tell us to NOT run for x amount of time.

We are going to test this every chance we get.  We are stubborn.  You don't run a marathon by being weak and not believing in yourself. 

We get injured because we NEED the run like a popstar needs fans. We define ourselves by our running, how can we be a runner if we can't run? 

We get injured because there are so many fitspo photos with inspirational sayings like

push past the pain
you can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry (how about both?)
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
the voice in your head that says you can't do this is a liar
It will hurt, but it will be worth it
and seriously on and on! 

and bam the next thing you know you are blogging about your therapy, comeback plan and how running 1 mile pain free is a victory.  How you should have listened to your body a little closer, got new shoes a little sooner or quit the run three miles earlier. You are using your bike for cross training, hoping to do a race at the end of the summer and doing things like concentrating on your core and upper body. 

Upside to being injured, it makes your running shoes last longer, you save money from not paying entry fees and you have more time on your hands to do things like shop for new running clothes when you make your great comeback while you ice your leg.  You can discover hidden talents like handstand push ups.

Any of this ring true or is that just why I got hurt?

Although if you want to read what they had to say about it, you can check it out HERE, they do have some really good pointers, some that are even similar to what I pointed out.


  1. Yes - this is completely true! I'm shocked that the # is so high for injured runners. I'd like to think that now I'm smarter when it comes to aches and pains and I stop and do something about it before it affects me even more!

  2. My coach is Jeff Gaudette of RC and I think their advice is always spot on. Anyhow, I also wrote a post recently about how our running egos (like what you described above) are often what leads to injury. I am a firm believer that injuries don't "just happen." The warning signs are always there, we just choose to ignore them!

  3. Yep, I really think you hit the nail on the head. There's a fine balance between pushing yourself to the limit and pushing yourself OVER the limit and I think most of us don't know where to draw that line!

  4. Nailed it. This is definitely why I got hurt.

  5. I'm surprised the number is so high but no I'm not surprised that runners are injured...we do push more times more than we should. It is hard to find the balance between crazy miles and nothing!

  6. I am shocked that the number is so high! However, if I think about it I do know a lot of runners that have been injured this year. I do believe that a lot of people get hurt for the exact reasons that you mentioned. I remember last July when I was working with Matt we sat down for a heart to heart discussion about my goals for rehab etc. He said that I was defining myself too much by my running. He made me write out a list of other things I was good at and to focus on those. He kept saying "you are not JUST a runner" you are many other things too. It really got me thinking. Now I tend to get annoyed when I run into someone I know (usually non runner) who asks how running is going without saying anything else first. I want to scream "I am not just a runner!!!"

  7. That is so true. You would think we would learn. I don't know how many times I have said I will take time time off after this race - and then I don't. Or I will cross train and strength and I don't. I want to be stronger, faster, better. But I run with injury and become weaker and slower. I WILL learn my lesson on of these days!

  8. Those injury stats are not surprising at all. And my goodness, you really hit it out of the park with your reasons on why we get injured. And I hate those "motivational" posters. "You only regret the workouts you don't do" or something like that.. Rest days are so important and those stupid posters really send the wrong message.

  9. It kinda makes me feel better that the number is so high, now I feel more like the normal than the exception! It's definitely about pushing myself and wishing I was invincible. But I also neglect some of the important things, like stretching and ice baths. Injuries are definitely a good time to branch out and get stronger in other areas (and to save miles on my shoes!).

  10. Oh my...I realy needed this post at this very moment. I am fighting an injury. Sciatic nerve is a pain in my fanny. I did not run, this morning, because I am trying to give it time to heal. I am sitting at my desk, at work, debating if I should go for a run during my lunch hour. I know I shouldn't by I want to push through the pain...I have this fear of missing a planned run...really...I am an idiot.

  11. I'm a big believer in cross training to avoid injury. Substitute one running day a week for another activity (biking, swimming, hiking, or for me, skiing).

  12. Funny, because I commented on another blog today about this topic. I think runners get seriously hurt because they push through their "little hurts" all for the reasons you mention above. Feet hurt a little? Keep running and they will hurt a lot. Knees, hips, everything, if we pay attention when the hurts are small, take a little time off, do the things we know we need to do, ice, foam roll stretch, and do them EARLY, we can avoid the big injuries, rehab, long time off, etc.

  13. I've been grappling with this topic for 25 years. I'm sort of figuring things out...but still vulnerable to the injury beast. One way I'm surviving? Elliptical for 15% to 20% of my miles. Makes 90 miles a week doable w/o the damage. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  14. You are preaching, I'm the choir ;-)
    We need to run like popstars need fans<---I died!
    I love your posts!

  15. It's true. We want to believe we are so strong.

  16. We totally ignore the signs and just push through, but I also think that running is our drug and when we are not running, we have withdrawals. To keep them at bay, we run again, and injure ourselves worse. So it's not only about ego, it's about habits as well!


Because I love hearing from you all!