Hi Flexible Warriors!
Many years ago I was training for a 10k race and developed excruciating plantar fasciitis. If you’ve ever been sidelined with an injury you know how frustrating it is! You train hard for your sport or race day and then you’re watching everyone else while you stand on the sidelines. Not my idea of fun.
Like you, I’m in a hurry most of the time. Lots on the to-do list. Most of us are lucky to get a 30 minute run in. If you’re training for a marathon or triathlon, it’s like you are already so overwhelmed just getting their mileage and training in. Who has time to stretch or foam roll? Immediately after your training, you hope into your car, guzzle down some water and go about your day.
Until you end up with an injury… then you spend way more time (and money) going to doctors, PTs and massage therapists in hopes someone can fix us. That’s what I used to do anyway.
As a yogi and someone healing from an autoimmune condition (which is a never ending journey), I try to listen to my body and the messages it’s sending me. I drink more water and take magnesium if I have a headache; I go to bed early if I’m feeling run-down; I even skip a scheduled workout if a certain body part is achy or if I’m sick or just have low energy. Other people may push through, but I’ve tried that and it always backfires on me.
In this particular instance, I failed to acknowledge the little twinges and warning signs leading up to the excruciating pain that comes with plantar fasciitis. Hence, I was not able to run at all for a good 5 months…
That’s when I started adding foam rolling and self-myofascial release into my yoga and stretching routine. I took some training workshops and became so hooked with the benefits, I started teaching foam rolling and self-myofascial release in my Yoga for Athletes classes.
Everyone looked forward to the “hurts so good” benefits of foam rolling! I even ended up filming a Flexible Warrior Foam Roll and Stretch DVD so I could share the “joy” of foam rolling with everyone (I kiddingly say “joy” because it’s a love / hate relationship.
Yes I agree… injuries truly stink! But we have to remember our body is not the enemy. Our body is trying to communicate with us and help us by sending us signals so we know how to take better care of it. And if we listen to the subtle messages and take action to rest and heal, then we can head off a major disaster. And if not, the body will be forced to scream at us until we have no other option than to rest. Can you relate?
It’s not easy, but I try to be grateful for even the set backs because it’s all a learning experience and I believe enduring and recovering from that pain has blessed me with knowledge that I can share with other runners as well as empathy, compassion and a new understanding of self-care and how to stay healthier.
I even feel like having Lyme disease and Hashimotos thyroiditis has given me an education I could have never gotten without walking through the fire of pain, fatigue and fear that came with it. Yoga philosophy says that injuries and illness are our greatest teachers because they make us step out of our comfort zone and look at the world from a new perspective. This is true flexibility and resilience in action.