2011 Streak Day 270 (Fri 30 Sept): Walk - 2 miles, Time 40min, Weather - unseasonably hot and sunny
Off to Manchester and more motorway miles. On the way thinking a lot about both the fragility and resilience of the human body and the nature of injuries.
Sport is encouraged for a number of reasons, many of which are to do with character development, and appreciation of teamwork, and an understanding of your own abilities and limitation. The virtues that are mostly talked about (outside of the pages of Victorain school stories) are related to the physical benefit of exercise, especially in the battle against obesity. All the benefits are true and I would not be writing a blog about running (well sometimes about running) if I was not firmly convinced about the value of sport and exercise.
However there is danger. There is always a risk of injury.
These vary from sport to sport. Cycling for example carries very little risk when you are on the bike as it is non load-bearing, with a limited range of motion, but there can be serious damage if there is a crash at speed. Rugby in contrast is a succession of collisions, often with twisting and odd body positions, which makes bruising and battering part of the game but there is always a risk of something more serious (which is why it has to be carefully regulated and refereed).
Running is interesting when compared to cycling because, although there is little danger of crash damage, you are much more likely to get injured. The repetitive strain on joints and tendons whilst carrying the full body weight can often lead to problems. I don't know how many runners get injured each year but it is significant. Proponents of barefoot running, in justifying the need the change of style, tend to quote 60% but I don't know where the figure comes from or how reliable it is. An article from1986, which used a sample from a 10k race (451 respondents) found 47% had been injured in the previous 24 months. Although there is quite a disparity in those two figures the bottom line is that there are a lot of injured runners.
However the upside of running injuries is that they tend to be chronic rather than catastrophic. You can otherwise function fairly normally and with rest and therapeutic exercises you are usually fit to carry on. In other sports things can be more serious.
The reasons for these thoughts is the reason for visiting Manchester - our daughter's boyfriend has just completely messed up his knee playing football. (An injury so serious it required 7 hours of surgery to reattach the ligaments).
But young bodies heal and the consultant said he could be back playing again in 9 months. After such serious damage that is amazing. For the moment though he is completely incapacitated and not at all a good advert for the health enhancing nature of sport