The extent of my running career consisted in my junior year of high school. I had no experience, and no plans on taking it very far. I was in decent shape back then, so running to stay fit wasn’t really needed or desired. I was your average teenager, keeping slim by eating a diet consisting of, “not very much.” However, I always seemed to stay active by walking or biking everywhere. Maybe the fact that I had no wheels helped a bit!
Fast forward now to my thirties, and the challenges I face are completely different. Priorities have changed due to meniscus repairs on both of my knees. Life as an automotive painter have taken a toll on my ever aging joints! My last orthopaedic surgeon asked how physical therapy was going, and I gladly informed him that I was up to 1 mile a day on the treadmill. “Have you run before the surgery?” he asked. “Well, in high school I ran a bit,” I said. Not a good idea, according to him at least. Then he proceeded to tell me that meniscus repairs aren’t really good to run on, due to the possibility of re-injury.
Now let me first say that I felt fine running that mile, actually I felt pretty damn good. I had this new feeling, like I was back in my junior year, and I was excited to adopt an active lifestyle again. So this brings up the age old question; Do we put our full faith in the Orthopaedic surgeon, or listen to our bodies? Call me stubborn, but I felt I was better off throwing caution to the wind with running, rather then throwing in the towel. Since then, I average at least 10 miles a week. I would be lying if I told you that I never have any residual pain. However, the benefits of running safely, far out number what would happen if you were to completely stop the forward motion. Heart disease, and obesity just to name a couple.
In closing, maybe we should start paying closer attention to our bodies. Who knows us better than we know ourselves? Since the dawn of time, our bodies have told us what we need more or less of. Educate yourselves and start listening to your body. If you feel pain, by all means, stop. Experiment with different techniques, such as, barefoot, and cross training. Due to the internet, we have a world of resources available at our disposal. Odds are, someone is in the same situation as you. So, what are you waiting for? There’s an old saying; “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Get up and get moving!
(I would like to add that I am not a medical expert, nor do I disagree with the medical field as a whole. Every case is different. Before starting any form of exercise, you should always consult with a medical professional.)