Friday, 20 February 2009

the mystery: more running – less injuries.

Very unusual for a german kid my sporting career started with football (note for all oversea readers: the real one with 11 unprotected guys and a round ball). Also I tried my hands on tennis and table tennis.

Hyped through our local ice hockey club my friends and I started playing “street-hockey” like lunatics. We used inline skates with icehockey sticks and pucked around tennis balls until there was no light. I still went on playing competitive football on a manageable level and after that skaterhockey in the first german league.

Throughout my whole sporting life I had to fight against injuries. Always something happened. Sprainings, cuts, stretchings.. you name it, I got it. With shoe size 13 (US) and a height of 1.90 metres I faced several uncoordinated accidents on football and hockey pitches around germany.

As I was bored by team sports, friends convinced me to buy a road bike. I enjoyed cycling just right from the start. My home area is perfect for cycling so it was no big deal to get more and more kilometres. As the winter came I didn’t had the chance to go out cycling and so I spontaneous took some sport shoes and went out running in the snow. It felt great and so I went on with running through the winter.

A good friend of mine was already into triathlon and so he just got the idea into my head: “Why don’t you try a triathlon?”

When it comes to sports im a very week person. To convince me doesn’t take time. So I signed up for my first triathlon without any swim experience and the words from my friend: “The current women olympic champion can’t swim either!” He pointed out Kate Allen’s swim performance in athens and that was enough for me to give that hole triathlon thing a go. I enjoyed the training but was not used to that much workouts. I took it easy with 3 rest days a week. The longer I trained the more workouts I wanted to do – the virus was in me.
In football or hockey you I had 2 or 3 days a week where we trained. On the weekends the matches were on and that was it. Triathlon was different – there was always something to do.
And I did lots. So the downfall came sooner then later.

In my second “triathlon year” I had to pull out at challenge roth (ironman classic in germany) with a very bad runners knee. I couldn’t move and I had unbelievable pain. At 32 kilometres in the marathon the doc asked me to stop.

I recovered slowly from that injury and had knee problems for months. The problems always came back. I stretched and cooled but the whole pain was deep in my knee.

I switched from triathlon to running only because of a full time job and the bad weather in Ireland. Running was always one of my stronger disciplines and with the background of football I was kind of used to run. In pre-season trainings I always liked the long runs in the forest.

So with a full running training I always feared to over train and ruin my bones. Most of my runs I do on tarmac. That causes lots of stress to the bones for sure. When speaking to a training partner in Ireland years ago he gave a very simple answer to my fears on injury.
“you have to run more!”

at first I was scared by this statement. But the more I thought about it the obvious it was. The more stress and pressure you put on your musculoskeletal system the better it works because it is so used to it.

At the moment I run constantly over 100k per week and there is no pain in my knee at all. After long runs I feel it but it is no pain. Its crazy and amazing how the body reacts. How you can train the reaction and the lasting of the system. You cant push it hard but if you run every day I more and more believe in the positive aspects of regular training, especially at a discipline that affects the body so hard like running.

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