We have all heard of warming up, starting slowly and building gradually. However, if we haven’t ran for a while or are just starting out, we seem to constantly go all out. Pushing the boundaries typically results in injuries. To ensure a strong and pain free build up, follow our top tips to prevent running injuries.
Do a mixture of other exercises when starting out
Running is a great complement to a range of other exercises. Starting too quickly or suddenly commonly results in overuse injuries such as shin splints, knee injuries, ITB issues or overall fatigue and exhaustion. Despite the fact that you might be active on the tennis court or the gym, if you’re getting back into running, you may have the cardiovascular fitness but haven’t mastered the strength and biomechanics of running. Whilst running can be a natural motion, the repetitive nature means that any biomechanical factors or weakness are instantly compounded whilst running. The human body is designed to adapt to small and gradual amounts of change.
A great starting point if you are already active is to weave running into your current exercise regime. Try mixing up your running with cycling or swimming. Strength and resistance training has also been shown to be critical to not only running performance but also injury prevention. Strength exercises should target the gluteals and core muscles.
Don’t push yourself too hard
Whilst interval training and high intensity can be useful if you have trained for a while, high intensity activity too quickly can result in overuse injuries. These running injuries includes conditions like shin splints, stress fractures or achilles related pain. If you are new to running, consider a run-walk program to begin. If you haven’t run for a while, consider starting slower and building distance and mileage before going for speed and time. Gadgets such as heart rate monitors are a great way to monitor your intensity. However, your breathing rate is a simple to way to tell how hard or easily you are working.
Do you have pronated, neutral or supinated feet when you run? Running creates significant ground reaction force each time your foot hits the ground. Depending on your running technique and foot type, this force is dispersed through the ligaments, muscles and joints of the lower limb. Footwear can impact where the force is dissipated or dispersed. Our podiatry and physiotherapy team are able to guide you through the most appropriate footwear type depending on your level of activity and biomechanics. Malvern East Physiotherapy are able to perform running and gait assessments to thoroughly assess your biomechanics.
It sounds cliche, but planning a gradual build up not only prevents the likelihood of injury but can ensure you can perform and continue to run at the best of your ability. Physiotherapists are well placed to assist in developing a safe and gradual program. Whether it be starting out for the first time or embarking on a training campaign for a marathon, our team can guide you safely. Our physio team commonly utilises the acute to chronic training ratio when developing an ideal program. Current research indicates that this ratio is an accurate predictor around the likelihood of soft tissue injuries and allows our team to assist you in modifying your training accordingly.
Get your running injuries sorted
Any minor injuries or niggles are generally exacerbated given the repetitive nature of running. This results in minor injuries regularly resulting in more chronic or significant injuries. Getting help early not only means the recovery time is quicker, but it also means there is less likelihood of having to stop running. Physiotherapists will work with you to assist in guiding you back from injury as quickly and as safely as possible.