Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one on the trail with a problem. I have been running for 10 years. I used to run below a 9 min mile. Then in Jan I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. I had to stop running for 2 months, (absolute torture). Now I look like a hospital ward patient when I run. Both of my feet are wrapped due to my collapsed foot, I wear a knee brace, and my pace has slowed to about a 10 min mile. After 3.5 miles or so, my hips acts up. I stop at 5 miles now because I have been told it's not a good idea to do more than that. My disc is inoperable, (I may need a second opinion). So that's it, no more races, no more focusing on speed, and no running more than 4 days a week (even though I'm advised to do 3). And I'm not even 30!
It's like a catch 22, you do something to keep yourself healthy and in shape, something that is great for your heart, but it causes your body to break down faster, and there was a time I limped around like a cripple because of my back.
I want to increase my speed though, at least to 9.5 min mile. The most I can do is a 5K these days. Any advice? :(
I don't have any advice to increase your running speed, but I can relate. I have the exact same problem. I'm now 25 and back in the acadamy I was running eight 6-minute miles, and then early last year I started having back and hip pain. Went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a herniated lower disc. My doctor said it was possible to fix with an operation, but it there was some risk, it may not work, and if it did work the pain would probably come back within a year or two. Not worth the money to me.
I can only run 2-3 miles now, and that isn't enough for me to get my running fix. Sad, apparently some people just aren't built for running, and for us running is actually wear and tear on the body. Like you said, Catch 22.
I've stopped running competitively and have switched to cycling instead. I still do a charity run here and there, but usually end up walking the last mile or so. Believe it or not I'm actually in better shape now since I started cycling than I ever was while running. Cycling is much easier on the joints and bones, plus it will also give you a ripped core and tone arms. Cycling really is the ultimate fat burner. If you aim is to stay tone and in shape then I recommend getting a bike, but a road bike not a mountain bike(death on wheels). If you're completely addicted to running and refuse any other forms of exercise, like so many runners I know, then all I can say is good luck.
You can get a good road bike for as little as $350. The hardcore cyclists will spend well over a $1500 on their bikes, but that's rather absurd. They are paying hundreds of extra $ only to shed 3-5 lbs off their bike. weight. Oh, and bikes aren't like running shoes, they will last 5-10 years, so it's really not THAT expensive.