Examine all options for weak points
By Fred Deckert
You remember Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay”? This was the poem/story of a carriage that was built to last forever. All the failure prone parts were especially strengthened toward that end. But, one hundred years to the day, the wonderful carriage turned into dust. We can’t hope for even such success, but the idea of strengthening the weak parts is a good one. As runners, as in all things we all have our weak points.
Mine are perhaps too numerous to recount, but a particularly annoying one is “tender feet.” I’ve had the problem from the beginning of my running life and have not yet found a cure. My approach is to find the best shoes I can for “my feet,” and to use especially resilient inserts. This helps, but doesn’t cure the problem.
Your problem may be tender knees, ankles, quads or some other weak link in your running chain. Fortunately many of these problems can be alleviated if not completely eliminated. A good book on running injuries usually will advise you on exercises that will strengthen the area/s of concern. Often a visit to a sports oriented orthopedist or a running coach will be beneficial. Even other runners who have had similar problems can be of help. You should NOT just be content to “grin and bear it.” Problems exist to be solved or at least a solution should be attempted. Far too many would be runners simply give up and decide running isn’t for them before examining all their options.
It may be that you are the competitive type and your problem is that you aren’t running as fast as you’d like. In this case there are training programs that will generally be of help. None are likely to make you world or national class, but with diligent applications they are almost certain to make an improvement, and hopefully make you a little happier. Real happiness in your running is more likely to be found in accepting the blessing of being able to do what mother nature has allowed. But, don’t count on her to take care of your running without some cooperation from you.