EXERCISES EQUIVALENT TO SQUATS

From the mind-body perspective, injuries are a case of mind over matter: If you don’t mind the injury, it doesn’t matter. This formulation might sound glib, but any wise and oft-injured runner (like Khalid Khannouchi) will tell you that, with respect to preserving your enjoyment of running, accepting the inevitability of injury, accepting the reality of each individual injury, and looking forward instead of backward or inward when injured are worth more than active release therapy, prescription orthotics, stretching, icing, and all of the other physical measures that constitute the conventional approach to dealing with running injuries. THE UNAVOIDABILITY OF INJURIES When I was a younger and more naïve “running expert,” I used to say that a runner could learn something from every injury. Scarred but smarter now, I can state with total certainty that it is not possible to learn something from every injury. Every fragile runner learns this truth sooner or later. “It is part of the sport,” Khannouchi told me, echoing Jason Lehmkuhle. “If you push your body to the limit, you will get injured.” Trying too hard to learn something from every injurysomething that will ensure it never happens againwill only drive you nuts, as Jason Lehmkuhle suggests. But on a general level, the more experience I acquire with injury, the more I learn about the nature of the phenomenon. In the remainder of this chapter I will present the top ten lessons about running injuries that I have learned. Use these truths to prevent injury from spoiling the fun of running for you. Some of these lessons can help you avoid the truly avoidable injuries and to get over unavoidable injuries faster. But most are about dealing with injuries in the sense of moving forward with them, despite them, and even through them to become a better runner because of them. TEN LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM INJURY 1. Most injuries are not caused by “doing too much.” A patient walks into a doctor’s office and says, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor replies, “Then don’t do that.” We’ve all laughed at this joke. What makes it funny? The doctor’s utterance sounds perfectly sensible but is in fact totally absurd. Presumably, the movement that hurts the patient is required for a normal life, so not doing it to avoid pain is no solution at all. Perhaps there is no other solution, but the doctor should help the patient exhaust all other possible fixes before telling the patient to stop doing that.

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