6 Top Tips To Reduce Running Injuries
HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF RUNNING INJURIES
6 TOP TIPS
Marathon training season has well and truly started. Are you preparing for the London or Belfast marathon? Are you preparing for an upcoming half marathon? Or are you kicking off the new year with a couch to 5K? Firstly, well done for taking the plunge and focusing on improving your physical and mental well-being. We at Gav Noble have noticed more runners out on the roads and we feel there are a few things you should know to reduce the risk of sustaining a running related injury.
Firstly, lets look at the research on running related injuries. Research has highlighted that 9 in 10 runners training for a full or ½ marathon sustain an injury. 80% of running related injuries are caused by overuse (This is good news because this means they are preventable). The most common injuries sustained are:
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles/Patellar Tendinitis
- ITB Syndrome
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runners Knee) – read more HERE
Unfortunately we cannot prevent all injuries. However, we can take control of our training and our bodies to make an effort to reduce the risk of injury. You can start by following these 6 key tips:
GRADUALLY BUILD YOUR LOAD
When we talk about load we are referring to the stress and strain that the tissue is exposed to as a result of running or exercise. There are four main factors that can influence load. These are; Volume, Intensity, Frequency and Type. Common mistakes made by runners in regards to load are:
- Significant increase of running volume, intensity, or frequency
- Inappropriate mix of low and high intensity sessions
- Bunching sessions ‘Weekend Warrior
To build load you should follow these three rules:
|10% Rule||Increase weekly milage by around 10%|
|Step up & Step Back||Increase weekly milage for 2-3 weeks and then take a step back to reduce milage for a week to recover|
|80:20 Split||Mix 80% of slow/easy running with 20% of high intensity/speed running|
PERFORM STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
Strength training has been suggested to reduce overuse injuries by up to 50%. Across 25 research articles and 26,610 runners strength training reduced overall injury rates by 35% and halved overuse injuries. The main thing is to keep it simple. Simply choose an exercise for the 5 components below:
- Hip Dominate (Deadlift, Kettlebell Swing etc.)
- Knee Dominate (Front Squat, Split Squat etc.)
- Lower Leg (Calf Raise, Heel Dip, Soleus Raise etc.)
- Plyometric (Hop, Skipping, Box Jumps etc.)
- Core (Plank, Bird Dog, Dead Bug etc.)
Pilates is also a great method of functional training for runners.
CONSIDER YOUR NUTRITIONAL INTAKE
Long distance running requires a high amount of energy. During a 10-mile run you could burn off well over 1000 calories. In order to prevent fatigue in the days following that run you must refuel. Fatigue increases the risk of injury. Therefore, if we do not consume enough energy to perform, our levels of fatigue increase, resulting in an increased risk of injury. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy during long distance running. In order to be properly fuelled you should consider carbohydrate periodisation. This is a fancy term for determining your calories and carbohydrate intake based off your activity levels and training plan. Below is an example:
|Training Load||4-mile Easy||6-mile Fartlek||7-mile Tempo||Rest||4-mile Easy||20-mile Marathon Pace||Rest|
|Protein||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM||1.6-2.2 g/kg/BM|
|0.4-0.6g/kg/BM per meal every 3-5 hours
Within 90 minutes of training
* g/kg/BM = Grams per Body Mass
Example: if the recommended is 8g/Kg/BM and an athlete weights 72k. 72 x 8 = 576g
PRIORITISE SLEEP AND RECOVERY
Sleep is one of if not the greatest recovery tool on the market. Athletes who get less than 8 hours sleep per night are 1.7 times more at risk of sustaining an injury compared to athletes who get 8 or more hours of sleep. When you are following a training plan you should always incorporate recovery days. During these days the goal is to reduce fatigue, muscle soreness and allow the body to repair. Once you have got the basics of nutrition and sleep nailed down, you should then consider other recovery tools such as cold/hot therapy, massage, foam rolling and compression garments etc.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Finally, it is important to listen to your body. Not all training plans will be smooth sailing. Even if you have your training load perfected, life can through obstacles in the way. There may be days where you feel increased soreness when you have a 4-mile run planned. It is okay to substitute the run with an activity that involves less impact such as cycling or swimming. You may have a history of joint pain when running that has flared up again. This is an indication that the loading mechanics aren’t quite right. Orthotics might be the simple solution. Most importantly if you feel irritation or pain in a particular area, why not give us a call. Our goal as physiotherapists is to get you back or keep you running pain free.
6. BOOK AN ASSESSMENT WITH A SPECIALIST THERAPIST
We are very good at neglecting little niggles and aches, and thinking we will just get over it. This can be a very common thing to do and often the biggest mistake a runner can make. Especially as they are building their miles in preparation for a big race or event.
The best advice I can give you, if you are starting to suffer with any injuries, niggles or aches, is to BOOK an appointment with one of our specialist therapists. They will assess you, and get to the root cause of the problem and advise you on the best course of action to deal with your problem. Afterall, you have probably paid good money to enter an event or take part and you certainly don’t want to miss out.
You can book an appointment by clicking HERE.
I hope you find this information helpful and if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not register your interest for our injury prevention for runner workshop by calling the clinic or emailing us.
Check out our FREE top tips report for frustrated runners by clicking HERE.
GOOD LUCK WITH THE TRAINING!