November 19, 2015( Comments: 0 )

RUNNING WITHOUT CAUSING INJURY

Let’s look at a common runner’s day – I’m sure lots of you can relate here….
Your alarm goes off at 6:00am – still tired, you pop the jug on, brew up a long black and shot it back. Your muscles are still a bit sore from your last run, so you do a few stretches then head out on your run.
2km in you notice that your knee starts playing up, but undeterred you finish your run and head home to get ready for work.
You get thinking about your knee playing up during the run and decide – “I must need new shoes!” You heard about minimalist shoes and that barefoot running is meant to be really good for you, so you head off and buy a pair.
On your next run,you blow your Achilles!…..What’s going on!?
Why do we keep getting injured doing the thing that we are built to do – run!!

Why do we get injured?

If you have ever tried to take up a running program and it has resulted in an injury, you are not alone. It is estimated that around 79% of-runners get an injury over the course of a year!
Recently a lot of attention has been on minimalist shoes, learning to run how nature intended and avoiding heal striking – “landing on the heel of the foot when running’’. This movement came about when physios realized that when we run in bare feet, the heel doesn’t touch the ground and we stay up on the balls of our feet. Landing and pushing off the front of the foot.
But when we put shoes on, it changes the whole bio-mechanical structure of how we move! With most shoes the heel is slightly raised for comfort which allows you to land with your heel first without causing any pain. Someone noticed this change in running style and came up with the minimalist shoe! When people first heard about this new knowledge,they went off and brought themselves a pair and the amount of injuries sky rocketed!
But here’s the thing, although it’s important to have good quality shoes – most of the time it’s not what’s on your feet that is the cause of your injury, it’s you! It’s your whole movement system and not just your feet…
There are two large reasons why people get injured when running;
1. Structural and muscular imbalances such as a severe weakness in a certain muscle group.
2. Progressing your running volume and speed at a rate that your body is not yet ready to handle.

Structural and metabolic changes

This simply means that someone’s aerobic and anaerobic system, increases at a rate faster than your ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones. For example; you might be able to run at a good steady pace for 8km without becoming too short of breath, but your hips might not be strong enough to handle the stress of that pace or distance and the result is your IT band becomes inflamed and your knee begins to hurt!
This type of thing is quite common when someone first gets the running bug, because you are so eager to increase your speed and distance!

The Fix

If you want to run without injury, you really need to take up a personalized and structured weights training program, a great area to start would generally be to increase your core and hip strength. But there needs to be analysis before you start to ensure you’re working on the key areas for you!

I’m not talking about lifting huge amounts of weight here,it can even be body weight exercises – but the main thing is to strengthen so that your body can handle the stresses of running.
Progress slowly! Too often just like we jump from 1 pair of shoes to another, we might start out on a fairly well paced program but then the next week you’re doing speed work!Progress slowly and be patient…. You’ll be glad you did in the long run! (No pun intended)
Talk to an experienced Personal Trainer or Physiotherapist & have them analyze what you need to work on, and structure a program to suit!
Running can be very enjoyable for all age groups, especially here on the Northern Beaches! We have fantastic running spots like the Narrabeen Lake Track to enjoy…just make sure that you are supplementing your running with a good quality resistance program!

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