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Clay Williams Ultra Runner

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Runner's Injuries

Posted by Clay Williams on December 17, 2014 at 6:55 AM

If you’ve been running for a couple of years or more, or if you have runners in your circle of friends, you certainly know that there is a variety of injuries and illnesses that can sideline a runner. I know from talking with people over the years about my running adventures that there are A LOT of people who have had to give up running altogether because of injuries. Injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome, arthritis, and back pain. I’ve had most of those injuries, and have been blessed with the ability to overcome them and keep moving. I’ve often asked for advice about these injuries; asked other runners, asked my chiropractor, my doctor, even a sports physician at one point, asked someone I trust. There wasn’t any sort of thought that admitting to these injuries was going to change the way people would relate to me or socialize with me. It was just me being honest and open about what was going on. And most of the time I’ve received advice that was useful, especially the advice from people who had experienced the same problem or really understood what I was talking about.

I know a few people (yup, a few) who have had bad falls resulting in concussions, and have had to take some time away from running to recover. I know about it because they’ve been ok with talking about it, in person and on social media.

Sometimes, after I’ve worked very hard to reach a goal, like after training for months to be able to run a race faster than the previous year, after finishing the run sometimes I get into a funk. Is that a running injury? I think so. I know that December is often a tough month for me to stay positive and motivated. I call that my Black Dog, the one that I have to tame and keep behind me instead of in front of me. This Black Dog used to have the ability to convince me that the cold is too cold to run in, that the aching knee is too sore to run on, that it won’t do me any harm to miss a workout, then the next one, then the next one. I’ve had this “injury” enough times now that I know what it looks like, what it feels like. But I’ve never talked about it much. I’m The Guy, the type A personality, the one who puts in the crazy long miles, the one who has enough self motivation to keep a bus moving, how could I possibly let anyone know that my mojo is gone? Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to talk about it a little more, I’ve been in an environment where it’s been ok to “expose” that part of me. And just like the times that I’ve sought advice about physical injuries, I’ve been able to latch on to little bits of good advice about these emotional injuries, and like my other running injuries, I’ve been able to overcome them. The treatment that works best for me? Get moving, set a new goal, aim at a new target, move towards the light.

The message here? Talk with someone you trust, don't suffer in silence, don't let the problem get worse by not taking care of it.

What did your Black Dog look like? How did you tame him? I’d love to hear from you.

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