Queensland running season is in full swing with the GC marathon done and dusted, the Brisbane Marathon Festival close by along with Bridge to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast Marathon all within the month of August. Remember not every runner will benefit from the same things so if you are dealing with a running related injury it’s advisable to seek advice and/or treatment from a physiotherapist.
Here are 10 tips to stay injury free this running season:
- Maintain a healthy weight. It can be hard to avoid comfort food in the winter months but keeping a balanced diet and avoiding those extra winter kilos, your joints will thank you later.
- Perform strength and stability training at least once per week. Focusing on areas of weakness in your body will decrease your risk of injury with running. Such as foot, knee, hip strengthening and core stability. Your physiotherapist can assist in developing a program specific for you.
- Regular stretching and self-massage. Maintaining good flexibility is important to decreasing your risk of injury. This includes regular muscle stretching, neural mobility exercises and yoga. Foam rolling is also an effective tool for increasing blood flow to the muscles and decreasing the sensation of tightness or stiffness in the muscles and joints – you physio can teach you what to do.
- Have a good warm up. It is important to make sure you’re well ready to start running especially in the colder months. Include dynamic stretching and body weight exercises such as leg swings, walking lunges, calf raises and squats. Even add an extra layer of clothing that you can take off later if you need.
- Running can be stressful on the body and it is normal to experience some pain and muscle tension. However there comes a time where those sensations become too much and start to affect your performance and enjoyment. When in doubt take time out. A few days off running now is better than a few months later.
- Avoid stopping completely. If you are avoiding running due to fear of pain or re-injury see your physiotherapist. This avoidance type behaviour could prolong your recovery or hinder your training goals. Maintaining light running when injured can also be important in some conditions. There is always something you can do if you can’t run due to injury such as swimming, cycling, cross training and strength training.
- Add gradual changes to your running program. Distance should be increased in a timely manner to avoid overload. A general rule is no more than 10-20% per week. Introducing speed and hill training can be helpful to your running performance and strength gains however this must also be progressive. When training for a particular event get help with a graduated plan to achieve your ideal distance and goals and stick to it. If you miss a week, modify your plan. Do not jump ahead as this can be when injury strikes.
- Look at your running technique. If you are frequently running in pain or discomfort it may be worthwhile having your running technique assessed with video analysis. Not everybody runs in the same way and there is no perfect technique. A few tweaks here and there can make a huge difference to the loading through your joints and even your performance or speed.
- Make sure to have adequate recovery. Recovery includes rest days, adequate sleep, hydration and nutrition. Listen to your body. A rest day can be just as crucial for your training to avoid overload and injury.
- Enjoy the positive mental health effects of running. Make the most of your time out, acknowledge your surroundings and forget about your daily demands. Maintaining a good overall well-being is paramount for reducing your injury risk.
Our highly experienced Physiotherapsits at Physiologix love treating like minded runners. We use technology to assess on video your technique, measure your cadence, and run you through a barage of functional tests so that we gain a good picture of how you move currently and how we can help to change your technique for the better. If you have any questions or would like some advice with your running injury or injury prevention please contact our friendly reception staff to organise an appointment. Physiologix at the Gap Health and Racquet club, phone 07 3511 1112 or email from our "contact us" page at the website physiologix.com.au