HOW TO STAY INJURY FREE THIS RUNNING SEASON
By: Dr. Christine Meckamalil, DC
As the weather warms up outside, we begin to see more and more runners come out of their long winter hibernation. Running is one of the purest forms of human movement and the foundation of many sports and athletic pursuits. However, although running provides several cardiovascular benefits, it also comes with the risk of several injuries. Every time your foot strikes the ground during a run, the impact forces on your body are 4-8 times your body weight! This impact can happen over 800 times per kilometre of running, so it is easy to see how such a simple physical activity can pose the risk of injury. Therefore injury prevention is very important for any runner, whether you are a beginner or an elite athlete. To ensure that you stay safe and injury-free this running season, I’ve listed a few of my injury prevention tips!
1) Don’t do too much, too soon: Overuse injuries are very common amongst runners to do a sudden increase in training intensity or volume. This increased demand may be too much for your body to handle and can lead to injury. A simple way to avoid such injuries is to apply the 10% rule. Do not increase your weekly volume or intensity of runs by greater than 10%. Increasing the volume and intensity of your runs by only a modest amount, will allow your body to adapt to stress that you’re are putting on it.
2) Stretching: I can’t emphasis enough the importance of a proper warm up and cool down. Before you begin your run do some dynamic stretches that warm up your muscles and prime them for the activity they are about to do. After your run, take the time to show your body some love by doing static stretches for the muscles that have been working hard to keep you moving. If you need help with what kind of stretches to do pre and post run, shoot me an email! I’m more than happy to send some stretches your way!
3) R & R: Experts from various sport backgrounds can agree on one very important component of any fitness training program….REST AND RECOVERY! Your success with any training program is highly determined by your body’s ability to adapt to the demands of the activity and recover for the next session. To rest and recover properly means to allow yourself to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, staying hydrated, proper nutrition and cross training to ensure you are correcting muscle imbalances.
4) Seek expert advice and take care of your body: I often tell my runners that “one does not plan to fail – they fail to plan.” It is essential that every runner have their own unique running plan that follows the tips I mentioned above. Seeking advice and care from a qualified healthcare practitioner when you are injured allows you to receive not only a treatment plan but also a return to running and future injury prevention plan. Ideally, you want to find a practitioner who has experience treating running injuries and/or is a runner themselves. Do not ignore the aches and pains that persist over several runs. The 5 most dangerous words for any runner are “ maybe it will go away?” Trying to run through the pain can lead to movement compensations and secondary injuries. A proper running assessment, by a trained professional, can help identify factors that may increase your risk of injuries and help to improve your running performance.
With these running tips I hope you stay safe and injury free this season and HAPPY RUNNING!
Dr. Christine Meckamalil – firstname.lastname@example.org