How To Avoid Running Injuries
Many people experience musculoskeletal pain and ask themselves “How do I avoid running injuries?”
Read on as we explain the best way to avoid picking up a running injury.
People often think that if you have an injury you have to stop training all together and just sit and wait for it to heal itself.
Especially with running injuries. We often hear “but you’re going to tell me to stop running” or “I need to keep my training up” as excuses to avoid seeking help.
Injuries come on a massive spectrum, and while some will require a period of rest, most can be managed along side training. Here are some top tips for managing your running injury!
Include A Rest Day
The best form of injury management is injury prevention! Including one or two rest days in your running programme is vital to make sure you keep progressing and stay injury free.
Taking a rest day may feel like ‘a waste of time’ or that ‘you’re not training hard enough’ but these statements couldn’t be more false. If you are putting in the work on your training days, your rest days are where the progress happens. Rest day doesn’t mean do nothing.
If you struggle with taking a rest day, swap your usual training for a light swim or a yoga session.
Warm Up Properly
Staying on the injury prevention note, a good warm up is key to staying injury free. Just touching your toes a few times, doing some quick high knees and a few squats isn’t enough. It only needs to be short, but it needs to have some form of structure.
There are areas that will commonly need stretching, and also some individual areas that you need to focus on.
You should always be hitting your calves, quads and hip flexors, but make it dynamic. Include some glute activation to make sure your running gait is maximised!
Don’t Just Run
Although the majority of your training will involve running, this shouldn’t be your only form.
Strength work is really important to make sure your body can withstand up to 5 times your body weight while running.
A structured strength programme focusing on lower body will massively improve your running and reduce your injury rate. Glute strength work is really important to avoid common injuries and protect those knees!
Gradually Increase Volume
A key way to avoid running injuries is to increase load gradually.
Some people go from barely running before, to deciding they want to run a half marathon or even a full marathon.
Now, while it’s great to have these goals to keep you motivated, you have to be smart in the way you train for them.
Don’t book a half marathon that’s in six weeks time if you’ve only just managed a 5k.
Increase your training volume and distance steadily, a good rule of thumb is increase by 10% each week until you reach your goal. It may feel like a small increase, but all the small increases add up to a big difference at the end!
When managing a running injury, your footwear has to become function over fashion. There is no point in having the on-trend shoes on your feet, if they’re going to increase your risk of shin splints or stress fractures. Everyone’s feet are different, and more importantly, everyone’s running gait is different, meaning that you require different things from your footwear. If you’re serious about running, go and get your gait tested and your shoes specifically fitted to you, but if you recreationally run, make sure you choose a specialty running shoe. We’ll let you in to a little secret, they may not be the best looking shoes out there, but being injury free is way cooler than looking good right?!
Ask For Help: How To Avoid Running Injuries
Unfortunately, any sport or activity has a risk of injury, but injury has a massive scale. It’s not so simple is either being injured or not. There are a lot of factors involved. Some ‘injuries’ will stop you running, most will just require a little attention and specific rehab. The key is to catch them early. Notice the signs and symptoms, don’t ignore pain, and get them sorted before they turn into a longer term injury. Keeping on top of your health and well being must be number one. Check in with your physio every few weeks, keep your body fresh with monthly sports massage and make sure your diet and recovery is on point. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you’re serious about running and would like to know more about preventing injuries, managing a current injury, or book your sports massage, click the link below and book in today! All of our therapists are hot on injury prevention and management, they will be happy to help!
The Physio Crew,
0333 567 0663