In my 20's and early 30's, I ran, and sporadically I would strength train. I had a tendinitis in my foot that kept me from running for nearly a year and a half. Then I was plagued by plantar fasciitis that burned with every step I took. And once that healed, iliotibial band pain kept me from running for another three months. Ultimately, I realized that I needed to make some changes as an athlete to avoid more injuries.
In the past 9 years, I have remained injury-free, even as I train harder. Here's how:
1) Foam roller -- I spend a couple of minutes on my foam roller a few times a week. I pay particular attention the the lateral aspects of the thigh, which is overlying the iliotibial band which can easily get inflamed. If I find a spot that hurts, I concentrate on rolling out that particular spot.
2) Massage -- Get a massage every so often. It will keep you limber and loosen up any problem areas. I recommend either David Wachtel of LA Body Mechanics or Efren Jimenez at Joseph Lamar Salon. Both of these guys are athletes and do great work.
3) Yoga -- Great for flexibility, stretching, and relaxing. I incorporate restorative yoga into my training, and particularly love Melissa's Sunday evening restorative yoga class at Black Dog Yoga.
4) Get a coach -- I have a coach not necessarily to push me, but rather to rein me in. I could be perfectly happy running and doing boot camp strength classes day in and day out, but that would be a quick recipe for injury. Coach Gerardo Barrios of Fortius Racing knows my goals and gives me a schedule of training to follow so that I am strong on race day and stay healthy getting there.
5) Strength training -- A strong core and strong body make for a stronger runner. I strength train two to three times a week, once a week privately with Corey Enman of Burbank Fit Body Bootcamp and another couple times a week at Tru Fit Bootcamp in Van Nuys. In the off-season, I also love Barry's Bootcamp, an hour workout consisting of 30 minutes of running and 30 minutes of strength training.
6) Swimming/cycling/cross-training-- It's important to use other muscles that you don't necessarily use for running. I swim and ride my bike a couple times a week, even during running training and the triathlon off-season. Cycling strengthens the glutes and hamstrings, and swimming is great for core stability and strenght. Both are great for flushing out the legs after hard running.
And this is how I keep on training and keep from falling apart!!!