5 Reasons why runners get injured
1. Too Much Too Soon Too Fast:
Hreliac (2004) studied 'impact and overuse injuries in runners' and concluded that "inapporpriate training volume is the key factor associated with 60%-70% of running related injuries"
Progressing the mileage too rapidly means you add volume before your body is ready for it. This is also true of increasing intensity too rapidly.
Increase volume OR intensity gradually, not both at the same time. The 10% rule is a good guide to increase your weekly mileage or longest run
2. Not Warming Up Adequately:
Particularly when doing high intensity activities, prepare your body for what you are asking it to do. The golden rule is to activate the muslces, mobilise the joints, and building intensity gradually raising your heart rate.
The higher the intensity of the workout or run the longer the warm up needs to be.
4. Poor Nutrition:
Just like a high performance car, you won't get the best out of your body if you don't fuel it right. That New Years resolution to lose weight and train for a marathon leaves you without the fuel to train, and more importantly without the nutrients your body needs for a full and adequate recovery from those long training runs.
Low energy uptake = low energy availability.
3. Not Including Sufficient Recovery:
This includes sleep, less than 7 hours sleep has been shown to increase the risk of injury by 71%. Add recovery days and if marathon training include a recovery week every 4 weeks.
A recovery day is not a lazy day, recovery should be included as part of the training plan, it's when the adaptaion to training can take place
5. Form & Technique:
This can create additional loading and stresses which over time will cause more overuse injuries. There is no magic formula to guarantee staying injury free, however, you can reduce the load and stress with better form and technique, giving you a better chance of staying free of injuries
1. Do your strength training
Strength training improves performace, increases the tissue tolerance to deal with the loads placed upon them by running without changing body composition, you won't get big!
This is particulalrly important for those who have an injury history, those exercises you did to get over the injury? don't stop just because you're now fit again, they will still help.
Make the strength training specific, big biceps don't help you run faster or for longer!
2. Include high intensity running sessions
Suggested sessions should include:
Hills - repetitions of hill sprints
Speed work - sprints of 60m to 200m
Speed endurance - 400m, 800m, 1k, or mile reps.
Include 1 or 2 of these type of sessions per week depending on what you're training for and where you are in your training plan
3. Have a training plan
Plan your training, this helps to build up at the right rate rowards your goal race. It also helps to focus you running towards a specific goal. It will stop you trying to nail that parkrun PB in the middle of marathon training!
4. Include recovery in your training
In your training plan make sure to include recovery days and weeks.
Have a recovery day every week, and a recovery week every 4th or 5th week.
Reducing your weekly mileage and the longest run every 4th or 5th week will reduce the build up of fatigue.
5. Vary your running
Change the route - don't always run the same route the same way round, this will change up the loads that will build on the same side if you always run a route turning left for example.
Change up the terrain - get off road too, this makes you stronger, plus running on softer ground reduces the stresses that will build if you always run on tarmac.
Change up your running - Include hills, add speed or speed endurance sessions, tempo runs and an easy run
Simply to prepare you body & mind for the activity you're about to do. The point of which is to get our joints Mobilised, Activate the muscles and Raise our heart rate in Preparation for running, RAMP!
A warm up doesn't take long, but can improve the quality of your run or training session, a good rule of thumb to rememebr is that the higher the intentisyt of the run or session the longer the warm up needs to be. A 100m sprinter will warm up for longer than a marathon runner due to the intensity.
2. Warming up before a run
Some basic mobility work to get the joints mobilised, some muscle activation and dynamic stretching.
Gradually increase the intensity to get the heart rate up, which will in turn pump more oxygen to the muscles.
Walking High Knee Pull
Leg Swings (front to back)
Leg Swings (side to side)
3. Add drills to a warm up
These drills will help with your running form and technique, always consider why you're doing these.
Grapevine (Carioca or over-unders)
Straight Leg Run
See the videos for how to perform these drills.
4. Warm up for higher intensity training sessions
Start as for the pre-run warm-up. Consider the following
1. The higher the intensity of the sesison the longer the warm-up needs to be
2. Add drills after the warm-up, focus on the technique.
3. Build the intensity through the warm up so that you're almost at the session inte sity at the end of your warm-up
5. Warming up for a gym session
Include whole body mobility work, start at the top and work down, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. activate all the muscle groups with dynamic work. include the following
It is also a time to work on improving range of movement around a joint with limited range. it's good to do this before you start gym work as you will have better chance to perform the exercise correctly, which gets the best out of the exercise and also doesn't badly load muscles and joints that should not be involved in that exercise.
Stretching Yes or No?
1. Stretch before a run?
Static stretching before a run is a definite NO. it has been proven to have negative consequences on performance as the muscles are lengthened and any additional benefit from the stretch shortening cycle are then lost. it can also cause injuries.
Dynamic stretching is encouraged however, by moving your joints through their full range of movement dynamically the muslces are going throuth the act of stretching and shortening as they will when you run. This also encourages blood flow and the transport of oxygen to the muscles.
2. Should you stretch after a run?
This should be carefully considered. Why do you want to stretch after a run. If you are feeling tight at the end of a run then stretching that muscle may not be the best thing to do. Walking it off would help more as this will allow the muscle to go back to it's relaxed state more gently.
It has been suggested that post run stretching benefits only last about 30 minutes, so it doesn't appear to have any lasting benefit.
3. Does stretching help prevent injuries?
There is no evidence to suggest that stretching helps prevent injuries
4. Does stretching improve performance?
No evidence of stretching to improve performance either
5. To stretch or not to stretch?
There are few benefits to stretching, however, it's one of those areas where if it makes you feel good and you've always done it then fine, carry on. There are better ways to spend 30 minutes a day though, such as strength training.
If you have a reduced range of motion around a joint, such as your ankle or hips then stretching is worhtwile in order to improve that joint range.
Having long stretchy muscles might feel good, but that flexibility needs strength for control. Therefore, add strength training so that the flexibility is controllable. Consider whether being able to touch your toes when running is neccessary?!
For performance, being a stiff spring is better than being a slinky.