For any type of training, consistency is key. Whether you are hitting the pavement to run your first 4km, or if you are aiming to run a marathon, the preparation that you do in the lead up to the event is the most important aspect for avoiding common running related injuries. Starting off steady and gradually increasing the amount of kilometers or intensity of your running, allows your body, in particular tendons, to adapt to the loads and forces on the body during the run stride. Tendons, for example the Achilles tendon, like to be loaded, but can become inflamed and painful if there are sudden spikes in load. A great guideline to follow, is ensuring that as you build up your training volume or intensity in the lead up to a big event, such as the City 2 Surf, you are only doing so by 10% per week or less.
Including a bit of variety into your training is a great way to continue to build fitness and strength, whilst reducing your risk of overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis or bone stress reactions. Breaking up your running days, with cross training such as swimming or cycling, is a great way to develop a solid base aerobic fitness, whilst taking a bit of the load off the legs. Varying your runs throughout the week can reduce the risk of overuse injuries, for example, including a hills run or some sand running is a great way to develop strength in the legs, whilst building up the running volume.
Finding the right footwear for you can be a bit tricky! Not all feet are the same, and the right footwear will depend on the width and shape of your foot, the height of your arch, and the way your foot moves during the stride when it is in contact with the ground. Talking to your physio, or specialist running stores, can help guide you as to the best type of footwear for you. Ensure that you have done a bit of running in your new shoes before the event, to avoid blisters on the day!
4. Address pain
If you have an ongoing ache or persistent pain whilst running, it is always best to chat to your physio sooner rather than later! The sooner you address an issue, the quicker you can be back to running pain free! Many running injuries, such as runner’s knee (also known as ITB syndrome) start off as a mild pain and progressively worsen. Early physiotherapy intervention can address contributing factors, such as biomechanical issues or muscle weaknesses.
Most of the time, nobody taught us how to run – it’s just something we do. Often we don’t give any consideration to the fact that there may be a ‘better’ or more efficient way to run. If you are experiencing pain anywhere when you run, there is a possibility your form / running style may be a contributing factor. Heel strikers, with a long stride that sees the foot hitting the ground in front of the body, are subject to large ground reaction forces. This can lead to over loading of structures around the hip or lower back. Forefoot runners, with a shorter stride length, may experience calf or Achilles pain when running at a lower cadence.
At Activate Physio, we are passionate about helping runners of all levels achieve their goals. With thorough assessment and appropriate training plan, one of our experienced physios can help get you running! We use GaitScan technology to assist in our assessment of your individual foot biomechanics. To organise a free GaitScan assessment, visit www.activatephysio.com.au/bookings