Last month we started talking about ways to help avoid injuries when you start out with running. Here are the next couple of top tips to help you avoid pits falls many a runner has fallen foul of.
Time and time again the research supports us telling people to get strong.
• Being stronger appears to help with running performance – so there can be a duel benefit here – run better and probably reduce your chances of injury too.
• The stronger you are, each time you land or propel yourself forwards you are using less of your maximum capacity from the system. If you use less from your capacity each time it gives you longer before things fatigue – fatigue is often a big reason why the system fails and breaks.
• You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to get strong – yes that weight stack in the gym is a very efficient way to work your muscles hard and drive physical changes in the muscles, joints, bones and nervous system, but completing exercises at home – as long as it’s hard work for you – should get an adaptive change.
If you were taking up golf or tennis you would likely have some lessons to make sure your technique was good. Well running is a skill – so have you made sure your technique is sound? Non-ideal running technique can put a lot more stress through the body, giving a greater chance of injuries but also reducing your efficiency making life harder to get across the finish line.
• Don’t think that the running shop has given you a comprehensive running analysis. Often they have just been looking at how your feet land on the treadmill and there’s a good chance they didn’t look at anything higher up the chain. A comprehensive analytical look at your technique from top to toe is vital. In 18 years of being a physiotherapist I’m yet to come across that perfect running technique in the clinic.
• After the analysis there is likely to be some or a lot of work to be done. The good news is that good running technique is not difficult to do, but the trick is the time it takes to master better technique. It takes time and lots and lots of practise to nail it down. Don’t expect to perfect it after a week or two, it’s going to take time, but the results can be stunning. A specialist technique center or professional formally trained in running technique is certainly worth a visit to.
• Brain training – as well as improving technique, improving brain processing and speed is becoming better researched now and showing very positive signs of helping performance, efficiency and helping the brain to age in a more healthy state. Brains more able to process information and act on that quicker may be able to avert disaster when you land unexpectedly on that stone while running or don’t see that pothole or curbstone. Cognitive challenges while performing physical activities is a great way of improving your brain speed and processing skills.
Here’s to many happy miles of pain free running!
Robert Grainger MSc MCSP MHPC CSCS
Practice Principal PhysioFixx Physiotherapy Clinic