After my discussion yesterday with a senior runner I very much respect, I've come to realize what he meant in telling me takes at least 3 years of consistent and dedicated running to learn how to run. Yes, part of it was form and technique. However, it's also about not only listening to the body but understanding what the body is telling you. You can listen, and that's a good start, but if you don't know what the message is and what to do about it, you still can't address the issue even though you can listen to the body.
On this point, I'm actually glad I've been hurt over the past years. As I come up on the end of my 3 yr. of running, I can now tell when I have the earliest indication of PF, AT or Runner's Knee for example. I can feel it and adjust before it turns into anything serious. Just this morning, I felt some very very slight stress around the knee, nothing serious but I could feel it. I knew right away what the issue was. I've moved to running 7 days per week instead of 5 days per week and my legs are dead. I have no pain but the legs are dead and not alive. This is my body telling me to "back off" for a few days. In the past, I'd keep going because it just tired muscles, right? Wrong, it's the early message of something that will lead to serious Runner's Knee in 2-4 weeks if I keep it up. And, when too tired, form will fall apart causing other issues.
So, tomorrow is speed work but not for me :). I'll show up to the group session but I'll turn it into an easy run and then take the next day off completely, then only run 4 of the next 5 or 6 days to get another full day of rest.
Last week, I tried to run in my old Asics Hyperspeed 3's. I made it 6 minutes and I noticed a faint pinch in the arch area and immediately I knew that was the very early message from my body to the brain to get out of those shoes because that will lead to PF, not today but next month.
I remember an elite level runner telling me that some really good runner's are injured because they know what the body is telling them but due to performance pressures, they push beyond and ignore the message although they know what they should do. I actually believe this. I believe elite runners know when they should back off but can't do it due to sponsorship, money and racing. With many elite runners, it's probably not the shoes but the decision to ignore when to back off.