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Running joke - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Running joke
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arnhem From: arnhem Date: November 10th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Current recommendation seems to be "a couple of hundred miles" before replacing trainers. I've pushed some to >3000 miles, but it probably wasn't a good idea.

My suspicion, which I can't prove, is that knee-buggering comes about indirectly from failure to adequately stretch and warm-up/down.

The theory is that when you run (and indeed do other exercise), you do a little bit of damage to the muscles, which turns into "knots" (which are little regions where the muscle fibres knit together more tightly than normal). If you warm down sensibly, and do stretches, this tends to sort the knots out. They also go away over time, if you don't do more running for a while.

If you don't do something about them, and do go running soon after, the knots, being bits where the muscle is pulled together more than normal, cause the bits of muscle on each side of them to be stretched more than is ideal; this makes them more susceptible to damage. Eventually, your muscles get more and more knotted, and shorter and shorter, and at that point you start putting interesting stresses on the tendons at each end.

Worse than that, the knees, particularly, seem to be vulnerable to this happening asymmetrically - if one side of the upper or lower leg gets knotted and stretched more than the other side, it starts putting an interestingly skewed set of stresses on the knee, and then you're in all sorts of trouble.

The solution is to do some gentle stretches after your run (and optionally, do some thorough calf massage [*]). Useful stretches are:

1) sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you; do as many of the following as you can, gently: grab your toes; while doing that, push the backs of your knees down onto the floor; while doing that, lift your feet up by the toes or rock your feet from side to side. You should feel this stretching the calf muscles, the backs of the thighs, and (possibly) the lower back and backs-of-shoulders. Be careful not to wrench anything suddenly.

2) stand on one leg, tuck your other foot up behind you, grab hold of it and pull; rotate your leg around about your hip (so the foot is still behind you, your knee still lowest, but your leg faces in different directions). You should feel this stretching the fronts of the thighs, the outside of the hip, and possibly the shins.

3) do half of the splits; crouch on one leg (knee pointing forwards) and stretch the other one out sideways; try and squat down as low as possible while keeping the stretched leg straight. Try this with the foot pointing up, and with the foot pointing out. Rotate the knee of the other leg outwards so as to increase the stretching. Repeat on the other side. You should feel this stretching the inner thighs.

4) put one foot up on a table (at hip height), with the toes pointing up. Grab hold of the toes, try to get the knee as low as possible (ie the leg as straight as possible) and bend forwards to try to touch your knee with your forehead. This stretches most of the same bits as 1) .

The problem of course, is that when you've just knackered yourself running, there's quite large bits of your brain going "naaaah, what you want to do now is collapse in a heap"; but a few minutes of this can make the difference between walking and hobbling downstairs the next morning.

My co-workers are amazingly tolerant of me when I get back from lunch-time runs ...


[*] an option for new-age vets, presumably.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 10th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow! This is all really really useful stuff. Thank you.

I did sort of feel that keeping muscles moving was the right thing to do afterwards to stop them going stiff (& they are still achey now but not all seized up) so it's good to know that's not just folk wisdom. :-) And it's really good to have a better idea of what sort of stretches would be useful for which muscles.

Lunch-time runs was what I was sort of thinking of doing when I originally had the idea about running, but that would mean comments from cow-orkers, and given that $officemate used to be a Serious Runner (until he, um, buggered his knees...) and $boss has started running too I feel a bit embarrassed about doing it (combination of "they do it better than me" and "they'll think I'm just copying"). :-}

Anyway thank you again!
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