It’s said that all stereotypes have some truth to them, and for me, at least one is true: long distance runners tend to be a bit klutzy. Running takes mental toughness and lots of endurance, but of all the sports out there, it doesn’t require the most of coordination. Simply one foot in front of the other, right?
When we think of running we don’t think of traumatic injuries that are more common in contact sports or more dangerous sports like gymnastics or platform diving. Running accidents aren’t exactly as common as collisions on the cycling or car racing circuit, right?
Maybe they’re rare, but running accidents do happen. Take last Monday, for example.
I had Monday off from work (woot!) and was so excited to get a nice, longer crisp fall morning run under my belt. I took our Weimaraner puppy, Otto, along with me, thinking he could enjoy the leisurely and scenic trot around the New Albany running trails. He loves people, and when two speed-walkers approached us, he darted toward them, unable to handle the excitement. I lost my footing and had a fight with the asphalt. Guess who won that battle.
So much for a peaceful day off, huh!? Five hours later with a temporary cast and vile of ibuprofen and Vicodin, I learned I had fractured my radial bone, which connects to the elbow.
Looking at the bright side, it was my left arm, I didn’t need surgery, the temporary cast was downgraded to a sling to keep my elbow mobile for the next several weeks, AND my fiancee Sam bought me a loaded Starbucks gift card as a “get well” present. A pumpkin spice latte makes all my troubles disappear – at least for a few minutes.
As for Otto, I most certainly couldn’t be mad at him. No way. I swear he knew he did something wrong, though. Weimaraners sure are smart! He laid in his kennel most of the evening and snuggled up on the couch with me later, licking the cast.
Unfortunately, despite avoiding all contact sports this isn’t a freak occurrence in my life. Accident-prone, that’s me. I’ve broken my ankle; had to wear a walking boot for six months. This happened when I was bumped at a Cleveland Cavaliers game, lost my footing and tumbled down the cement stairs. No, I was not drunk. I’ve busted my knee; had to get lots of stitches for that bad boy. I was putting something away to store in the basement, went to reach for the light, stumbled on a ceramic flower pot and crashed into it directly, only to soon notice fragments of the pot were stuck in my knee. (Please note: the below images are not for the weak of stomach!…ha!)
On a more serious note, having injuries that sideline me from my daily runs has been a struggle. With my history of exercise addiction, taking several days off from running is a challenge for me. Even if I can only squeeze in two miles before work, my mental attitude and outlook on the day just somehow improves as long as I get a little jog in my regimen. I’ve learned, though, that rest is good. Days without running are OKAY.
I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this kind of traumatic injury on the run, but maybe you can learn from my experience to avoid your own mishap.I don’t know about you, but the more fatigued I become on a run, the higher my chances of eating asphalt whether from tripping on a shoelace, hitting a root on a trail, or simply getting tangled in my own two feet. Besides being extra cautious late in a run when you’re tired here are some more tips for avoiding a traumatic injury on the run:
1.) Use Common Sense. Take a minute or two to do a safety check. Do you know the route? Do you have a headlamp if it’s too dark to see well? Are your shoes double-knotted?
2). Pay attention to the surface you are running on. Take note of debris in the road or roots in the trail. Be extra cautious in the winter when ice may be lurking in your path.
3.) Limit your distractions. If you’re like me, running with an ipod might be a challenge. Just like driving and talking on the phone can be distracting, so can running while fumbling with an ipod.
4.) Wear the appropriate footwear for the surface you’re running on. If it’s icy, wear yax tracks or screw shoes. If you’re planning to run technical muddy trails, opt for trail shoes which will better grip the terrain.
4.) Watch out for cyclists and other runners. I could have prevented my fall if I had paid closer attention to the two approaching speed walkers who so quickly attracted my puppy’s attention! If you have to get out of the way of someone at the last minute you’re more likely to run into something or otherwise hurt yourself.
5.) Carry your phone. Really, if you’re going on a long run (or are going to break an arm and possibly need to call for a ride back home), this could come in handy!
6.) Make sure you’re visible. A car hitting you is much worse than you hitting the pavement. Get in the habit of wearing bright or white colored clothes, regardless of the time of day. I’d suggest hot pink, personally.
Now, if you’ll excuse you me, I think I’m going to get myself another pumpkin spice latte.
Have you ever experienced a fall when running? Any tips for avoiding falls you’d like to share?