The Number 1 Way to Reduce your Risk of Running Injuries


I want to share with you the best way to keep you running and reach that personal best! With gyms and social sport just starting to reopen many people have taken to running for exercise and to stay fit for the last couple of months. Increased activity can come with increased injuries. Read on to learn the most common injuries and the best ways to prevent them.


We can all see the changes that social restrictions have had on our daily exercise routines. Walking, running, cycling or going to the beach are all activities that have seen a huge spike in popularity since the start of the restrictions here in W.A. It is great to see the parks and our favourite running and cycling routes getting a thorough workout at the moment. I have never seen so many people jogging at my local park as I have in the last month. Staying active is such a great way to balance the daily stress in general but also while we have these restrictions in place. What we must remember is that exercise and activity can take a toll on the body from which we need to rest to recover.


The number #1 cause of running related injuries is an increase in load beyond your body’s capacity.


Simply put, it’s too much too soon!


Many people reading this will have used their extra time to put their running shoes on and explore the local area. I have certainly been out running a lot more frequently. The key is to gradually build but also allow adequate recovery between runs.

The loading factors that physiotherapists consider include

  • Duration (how long)
  • Intensity (how fast/hard)
  • Distance (how far)
  • terrain type (hills)
  • and the frequency of runs (how often, and how much recovery is in between)


WHAT TYPE OF INJURIES CAN OCCUR?


So along with running more, many of us may develop little niggles that we need to stay on top of. These can include:

  • Muscle strains, such as hamstring or calf strains,
  • Runner’s knee
  • IT band syndrome
  • Heel pain/bottom of the foot (plantafascia) problems,
  • Stress reaction/fractures of the foot, shin, thigh or hip
  • shin splints
  • Lower back pain
  • Glute tendinopathy
  • Achilles tendinopathy


WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO INOCULATE US AGAINST INJURIES?



Strength Training!!


The collective mindset is gradually starting to change and more runners are realising to benefits of strength training in maintaining a strong healthy set of legs. Improving the strength of our legs and core enables our muscles to attenuate more load and this means we can absorb more of what the road throws at us for longer. Stronger muscles help support and protect the bones, joints, and the muscles themselves.


PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS


Strength training can be very simple and 2 sessions of 15-20 mins per week is enough to make a difference. The best option is a tailored exercise plan from a physio or exercise specialist however something like an online home workout using bodyweight or very simple equipment is a great place to start. Home workouts can also be a bit of fun especially when you rope in a partner or family member. 


Strength training is ideally done on a rest day with adequate time to recover. Which means the post workout soreness wants to be considerably reduced before attempting another run which is typically 2-3 days but varies between individuals. Performing strengthening exercises post sub-maximal run can also be beneficial for the ageing runner. The reason for this is the affect running has on our tendons as we age is an overall lengthening which can be counteracted with the strength training targeting the calf muscles.


Workouts need to target the calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes and adductors and give you a little burn afterwards.


So, jump onto a website like fitnessblender.com and do a workout! Your legs will thank you for it.


Tip for increasing your running - Most people reading this have heard of the 10 percent rule which is fine as a rough guide when you are already running. My approach is based more on minutes of movement when starting out. Start somewhere between 10-20 minutes and aim to add 5 minutes a week. If that sounds like too much remember the walk/run protocol (1:1) can be a great way to build up the minutes of movement. 


Coming up I will be sharing more content to help with practical running tips including technique drills and navigating the maze of shoes shopping.


Enjoy your running, be sensible and know that we are here if you need expert tailored advice or some running repairs.



Zach Clark

Zach is a senior physiotherapist at BodyWise, as well as a certified level 2 Watson Headache Practitioner, and has trained in the advanced assessment and treatment of headache and migraine. His skill set includes Advanced Dry Needling (GEMt), osteoarthritis management, Pilates, strength and conditioning and running technique.
Zach has worked with amateur football, roller derby through to world championship age-group triathletes, however he is passionate about helping everybody to achieve their optimal health.
Outside of the clinic you will find Zach training for triathlons, sifting through the latest Physio research or enjoying a good glass of red.