As the season gets underway in the northern hemispheres the early season training injuries start to rear their ugly head. Running on bad surfaces in slushy trails is not my idea of safety, “soft under foot” pseudo experts advise; more like “absolute danger with every step”. My advice but hardly adhered too even by my group is run on hard and flat.
Then camps for one week: no work, no family, so we bust ourselves with nearly two times what we can do at home. Yet, go home and get an injury within ten days of my camp to get me ready for season. To only then be advised, ten days no training and visit me three times a week for two weeks at $90 dollars a pop says the physio with glee.
Yet, most athletes, like it’s a death wish to avoid one of the best training tools they have at their disposal when injured the shuffle or, its close neighbor, the walk. It’s like the plague for athletes to do either when injured. It's like the no-no of all time. Yet walking is a fantastic substitute for your running. If out injured and supposed to do no running, no we don’t walk. No, we would rather pay $5 dollars and enter a pool with a $60 dollar belt around our waist to get in some “real training” as we pop up and down like a tea bag for 30 to 40 min. It does pool great, physio great, and more important our head great. I’m training. The reality is much different. You would get more of watching past glories on video for 30min and get some positive reinforcement into your head there. But as compared to the benefits for injured athletes provided by walking, well let’s say all pool running does is replace a bath.
So, what is the reason for the anti-shuffle/anti-walk brigade in our head? Why is it such a crime? It would seem every body has a pre-determined pace in their head that if I can’t run this speed, then it’s not training so doing me no good. So, this is incorrect but very hard to break the habit.
Then we have injury brigade thought of: Tissue injury don’t run. Tendon injury don’t run. Bone injury don’t run, walk, or anything.
In theory, possible some correctness in that call, but most is total nonsense. Only one injury does not benefit from walking that people is a completely torn achillies tendon. Then after the operation, if you decide to have it, once recovered walking is the most beneficial there too.
Walking has been an essential of programming for Bella Bayliss and Chrissie Wellington before great Ironman victories. Both didn’t change their training or particularly their run training. They put in every hour and didn’t miss a beat, and on the long run day, both put on the backpack with weight in it and did 4 hour hikes in mountains. I watched Loretta Harrop walk 80 km per week with stress fractures only to come out and smash the worlds best in ITU world cups. These ladies had one thing in common strong minds and a will to understand walking with out much impact not only kept their muscles in shape but also helped with muscle memory when they resumed running. But, more importantly brought oxygen to their effected area. For over 10 hours of rehab a week, all for a total price of Zero.
Next time, you have an injury think about the Doc alternative to $500 dollars worth of physio, a new pair of shoes, possible orthotics if you see the wrong guy adding up to at least a $1000 dollar remedy. While you could get out the door and fix yourself and get back to racing quicker, by understanding this one principle:
Running is nothing more than walking fast.
Walk on, The Doc