Bulky Shoes Save the Day

A question I’ve gotten is: how have you stayed injury free for a while now?

I’ve been injury free (knock on wood) for close to two years now.  I’m not a pro at keeping myself injury free and I know there will be a time I’ll get injured again.

Being injured has always given me a time to think about how I got to that point.  For instance, when I got a stress fracture on my 21st birthday I orginally thought I had bad luck.  Looking back I had extremely poor training (running every single run too fast and my body couldn’t handle it). To give you an idea, my PR pace in a half marathon was around 7 minutes and I thought I had to run 7 miles under 7:30 daily to get faster. Running fast during every training run doesn’t equal racing fast. It equals eventually getting injured.

Now I’ve adopted a “slow and steady” wins the race type of mentality.  It’s not a secret that I run extremely high mileage.  I’m pushing 60 miles most weeks and my comfort zone (and what I would consider my best running) is done when I’ve run 70 mile weeks.

That being said I’m running them at a lot easier pace.  That is why (I believe) I’ve gotten faster and stayed injury free for now.  I’m running high, easy miles.  It’s almost as if I don’t leave the base building phase. I’m less tired than running for an hour at a faster pace.

I don’t go to the track and run 400s, 800s…actually I just don’t go to the track. I’ve been to the track twice in my running career to do a “speed workout”.

My speed work is done in the form of races or long uptempos (runs at a slower pace then tempo…for me that is around 7-7:15 pace).  I would rather run 12 miles at a 7 min pace versus running 12X400s at a 5:30 pace.

Outside of my training I put running as one of my priorities.  I try and get enough rest and sleep to recover and I try to eat somewhat healthy.  That being said there are some days that I get neither.

I’m terrible at stretching so I won’t pretend that I do that.

Another thing that I believe has kept me injury free are the shoes I wear.  I love running in heavier and more cushioned shoes.  With the exception of race day, the shoes that are my favorite are the most supportive.  The Brooks Glycerin, the Newton Gravity and occasionally the Nike Vomero all have a lot of support.  The lightest shoe that is currently in my rotation is the Nike Pegasus. Most people would describe them as a big, bulky shoe.

Mimilist shoes such as the Nike Free, Vibrams, Kinvera or the Brooks Pure series might work for some but they don’t work for me.  The moment I wear something light weight is the moment I begin to feel aches and pains. Personally, I don’t think that wearing light weight shoes works for me if I want to wear high mileage and I’m okay with that. I love the cushion provided in these shoes.

Finally I’m not afraid to take rest days or a few days when things feel weird or off.  There have been several times that I have felt a weird ache or pain and taken 2-3 days off.  I’ve gotten a deep tissue massage or I’ve foam rolled until it gets better.  It’s mentally hard to watch as a week of training goes down the tubes because you’ve taken 5 rest days…but it’s a hell of a lot easier to watch two days versus two months of training go down the tubes.

These are just things I’ve found to help keep me healthy.  They might work for you or might not.

Questions for you:

How do you stay injury free?

Do you like light weight or heavier shoes?