5 Tips for injury free running
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Running injury? Runner's knee? In this article, we will discuss 5 tips to help you recover, and prevent future injuries.
Firstly, we should preface by saying that running injuries are complex, with each injury having different triggering factors as can be seen in the image below:
Basically ANY sort of injury occurs when the demand of the body exceeds the ability of the body to handle that load, we like to use a seesaw analogy like in the image below:
So whilst there may be many different contributors to running injuries, here are some of the ones that we see most commonly (in no particular order):
1. Training Loads
The main mistakes we see runners make with their training loads is:
Doing too much running too soon and creating loading “peaks”: a general guide (not applicable to everyone) is to avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10-20%.
The second error we see runners make with training loads is that too much of their weekly running is at a high intensity. You should be running 80% of your weekly mileage at an easy pace, with only 20% for hard efforts. We often see this flipped around in many runners.
2. Running technique:
Running is a skill, and just like many other skills (ie swinging a golf club, swimming) there are better ways to do things. Running technique has been shown to be related to running economy (Folland 2017, Moore 2016) AND injury (Luedke 2016, Chan 2017).
At Health and High Performance we perform running technique assessment on our onsite treadmill which allows fast and accurate analysis.
Some of the things that we will look for in a running technique analysis is: overall posture, foot landing, cadence or leg turnover and arm swing.
3. Strength training:
Strength training has been shown in runners to help with both running performance and injury reduction. The aim is to perform resistance training 2-3 per week in preseason, once per week during the racing season, and for a period of 6-14wks (but the longer is better!).
Ideally separate weights & running sessions by 8 hours, and try to schedule your resistance training on harder running days, so that you easy and rest days are exactly that. So for instance on a Tuesday morning you would do your intervals/hill or tempo run, and then in the evening you would perform your resistance training.
A lot of runners are concerned that they will get “too bulky” with strength training, but this is actually a myth and has been disproved by research (Beattie et al 2017).
4. Sleep and recovery:
One of our favourite sayings is “stress + rest = growth”. That is, when you stress your body with training, it needs “downtime” to repair and remodel. Having too much stress with not enough rest will lead to your body continually being broken down, with insufficient repair. Athletes who sleep less than 8 hours have a 2 times greater risk of injury (Von Rosen 2017).
Aim for 7-8 hours sleep, and increase around times of harder training or in times where life stress is high. To improve sleep quality:
Try and have consistent sleep and wake times.
Limit electronic devices before bed
Limit consumption of substances which impair sleep ie coffee & alcohol
5. Listen to your body:
Most running injuries have warning signs that are often ignored. Whilst it’s usually ok to continue to run during recovery of most running injuries, it is important to get a DIAGNOSIS and PLAN from your Sports Chiropractor.
You may not have to stop running!
With an accurate diagnosis and plan, you may not need to stop doing what you love! With most running injuries, you can usually continue running whilst correcting the things that contributed to it!