Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rehab 101

So, now that I'm running again, and feeling better than I have in a year, I've got to resist the temptation to fall off the wagon so to speak, and go full out on my workout regime.

That's not to say I haven't pushed the envelope with a couple of longer runs, and one really serious workout this morning where I pushed up my pace, chugged up some hills and ran as hard as I could till I felt like hurling.

That being said, I realized that there are several really good rules to follow when recovering from an injury, especially the epic SI joint inflammation that I've been dealing with.

RULE # 1: Listen to your body. Respect its limitations. You can't just go from laying on the couch for a year to putting in eight-mile runs every day. Run your best, but when the piriformis pings or the knees ache, stop and stretch, walk a bit, and ease your way back into a comfortable pace.

RULE # 2: Drink. Lots. Of. Water. The muscles like water. They need to be bathed in fluid, according to an article read in a recent issue of Running Times magazine.For two hours after a run your body is still in recovery, even as the metabolic rate slows down, according to Julia Lucas. So drink up.

RULE # 3: Feed your body. You've just had an intense workout, and you've robbed your body of lots of nutrients as a result. I like taking a multi-vitamin after a tough workout.

RULE # 4: Take it easy. The hard part is over. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Do some gardening. Read a book.

RULE # 5: Treat yourself. After my nine-miler Thursday, I had a 15-minute deep tissue massage and a chiropractic adjustment. I allowed myself a full 48 hours to derive the benefit of that massage. The New York Times just reported on a study that shows one massage session can cause amazingly beneficial biological changes. As someone who had one of the most excruciating but most beneficial massages of my life, let me say, Om.

RULE # 6: Take your meds. I don't care what other doctors may have to say about the subject, but I'm a firm believer in a doctor-supervised medical treatment as part of any recovery program -- in moderation. The meloxicam (anti-inflammatory) I take every day works on the SI inflammation, along with the massage and the regular stretching exercises. If I need to take a tramadol or muscle-relaxer to ease that piriformis ping, so be it.

RULE # 7: Stretch. Always incorporate some kind of stretching as part of your recovery. I do a combination of yoga and physical therapy positions I've learned over the years. The worst thing you can do is sit around and stiffen up.

RULE # 8: Ice it down. If it aches, alternate ice with heat to reduce the inflammation. It works.

And now, "Body Rock," by Moby:

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