Running is the new dancing. We’ve all got that friend who has decided to get back into shape by slipping on their old trainers and hitting the road for a “quick 5km” which very quickly turned into the occasional 21km and within a year they’re doing full marathons!
Succumbing to Social Pressure when your body is not ready
While the running craze has proven to be a cheap, effective and efficient way of getting active, maintaining a social life and even spending quality time with the family, it doesn’t come without risk.
At the risk of sounding like a fear mongerer, too many social runners are taking on too much too soon. With the excitement and pressures associated with the running community (cue: “you’re doing so well at the half marathon, you should go for the 42km!”) we quickly fall into the common trap of the biggest and most dangerous risk factor when it comes to running injuries: EXCESSIVE MECHANICAL OVERLOAD!
Yes, it sounds complicated and overly technical, but we’ve compiled some of the best advice that current science has to offer, and compiled it into a simple, easy to understand guide for managing your running injuries and avoiding them.
Top Tips to avoid Running injuries
Assessing your running injuries or niggles can be done by considering 3 main elements of your body capacity, functioning and behaviour:
- Load Tolerance
- Load Management
These elements are vital to your rehabilitation process. We will take a closer look at each of these elements below.
1. Load Tolerance
Often runners become injured because they exceed their tissue capacity to tolerate their load; load refers to training intensity and weight. If your tissue capacity is not strong enough to carry your load, then this will ultimately result in an injury.
As a runner, you need to be strong enough to manage your load experience while running. The ground reaction force when running is 3.5 to 3 times your body weight while peak muscle load is 6 to 7 times your body weight. If you starting off and your muscles are weak, so you need to consider building it up before you increase your intensity too much.
Adding strength and conditioning training to your workout plan will help improve your tolerance, which will ultimately improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. This has shown to be one of the most effective interventions for positive long term outcomes. Your Biokineticist can guide you through the most appropriate exercise intervention.
2. Load Management
Managing your load is something you should be constant accessing during your training. Running should be stopped if it will have a negative long-term effect on your recovery.
This rest period should be kept as short as possible, but long enough for optimal recovery. If bone stress or more complicated symptoms arise, a longer rest period should be observed.
A good way of managing load during injury is the 24-hour pattern. Monitor reaction to the load in a 24-hour period. If the pain does not subside, reduce the running volume.
You can help assist the healing process by ensuring that your body mechanics and form is correct while running.We recommend considering the following:
- Changing your foot strike pattern: If you are suffering from Anterior compartment syndrome, have chronic degenerative knees or Achilles tendinopathy changing your foot strike may help. Try to avoid striking the extremes of both fore and rear foot.
- Gradually start retraining: Running retraining should start moderately and increase intensity over time. Going to big too soon could cause more damage. Make small gentle adjustments to your plan and avoid large sudden changes.
- Technique changes don’t have to be permanent: changing your style temporarily will allow symptoms to settle until you can revert to your normal comfortable technique.
- Running shoes: are actually less important than load management and biokinetics.
If you have any queries about your recovery or would like to book a consultation, feel free to contact us here! We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Based on an infographic by clinicaledge.co
The content on this website is purely informational. It is not a replacement for any diagnosis, treatment or advice from a qualified medical professional.
Should you be unsure about a certain injury/niggle, please contact a qualified medical professional (biokineticist, physiotherapist, general practitioner) before applying any self-treatments.