Running is one of the most popular leisure and sporting activities undertaken worldwide.
So here is some advice for those of you that are either suffering with a niggling injury or want to prevent injuries from occurring.
Running has numerous positive effects on health and fitness. However, regardless of age, ability and goal, running related injuries (RRI) are common and therefore, a relatively high incidence of RRI is observed.
Depending on injury definition and length of follow up period, the injury incidence among runners varies between 2.5 to 38 injuries per 1000 hours of running.
1) Choose the right training regime for you: Arguably the most important and crucial decision that can make or break a season or race plan. The running world is now overflowing with coaches and programmes that are readily available and there are a variety of regimes promising to get you to your goal. However, if you choose the one that pushes you too hard too soon based on your current level of fitness or the timescales you have available, you may increase the risk of injury and fail to make the start line.
On the other hand, if you choose the regime that doesn’t push you enough and that goal, PB or podium finish may never materialise.
If possible, speak to an established coach with a high success rate and go for the tailored approach. The extra cost will be more than worth it, especially if it means you don’t lose out on race fees and travelling costs due to injury or end up paying someone like myself even more to get you to the start line!
2) Be consistent, but flexible Consistency is the key to running success.
Stick to your plans, commit to the regime.
However, life gets in the way sometimes and other commitments, injuries and fatigue can side track you from time to time. Don’t chase the sessions you miss, don’t cram extra miles or speed into follow up sessions.
If you are training correctly 80% of the time, then you will almost certainly achieve your goals. Injuries and the potential for injury will be far greater if you lack the ability to listen to your body and use a sprinkling of common sense.
3) Get strong and stay strong! Recent years have seen an increase in the evidence supporting Strength and Conditioning (S&C), as it assists the body when to adapting to and managing training loads. A general approach, largely able to be performed at home should suffice. If in doubt, seek advice from a professional regarding specific exercises for running.
Get strong and stay strong as it appears to be the biggest factor we can actively affect in reducing injury risk and improving performance.
4) Recover and Rehab The single biggest factor that is neglected and can ultimately lead to injury.
Everybody is committed to training like a “pro”, but we need to be equally committed to recovering like a “pro”! A structured training regime will factor in recovery weeks and blocks of periodized training to allow recovery.
Eat well, sleep well, hydrate and enjoy down time with friends and family – you will be earning it.
Unfortunately, the demands of running inevitably often leads to injury. Thankfully, they are often just niggles and largely not serious in nature.
5) Shoes Try to have several pairs of shoes that you regularly switch between. Changing shoes helps disseminate forces between different structures and allows load to be managed effectively.
Generally, it is advised that you should be replacing your shoes after 300-600 miles, but monitor how they feel, and when they lose comfort and feel like they aren’t doing what they once were is a simple and easy monitoring strategy. LOOK AT THE SOLES AND SEE THE WEAR AND TEAR!
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