5 Ways to Prevent Running Injuries
The way you structure your running program is crucial in minimising running injuries. Running injuries are mainly caused by overtraining. Overtraining is very specific to each individual and can mean simply increasing your running from no kms per week to 10. Therefore it is important to develop an appropriate training plan. A structured running plan will incorporate varying intensities and durations during a training cycle. If you feel fatigued prior to a run or notice a drop in performance make sure you schedule a rest session to allow sufficient recovery.
The alignment and function of your body can impact the risk of developing running injuries. Poor biomechanics can predispose a runner to a number of overuse injuries such as: knee pain, heel pain and shin pain. Speak to a qualified sports podiatrist to get a comprehensive gait analysis to assess your biomechanics.
3. Running shoes:
Take the time to find the best shoe for your feet. A specially trained podiatrist can assess your requirements and match the best shoe to your feet and the type of training you do. This may involve a running gait assessment and then trying a few shoes that are right for your foot in store.
4. Strengthening and Stretching Exercises:
Our sedentary lifestyle has led to changes to specific muscles key to maintaining good running form. These include weakness to the glute medius and core muscles, tightening of the hip flexors and hamstrings and shortening of the calf muscles. It also creates a forward rotated posture that inhibits good running technique. See a physiotherapist for a muscle range of motion and flexibility examination to improve these key areas.
5. Running technique
For most of us we have never been taught to run. Running well is a technique that is not acquired. It requires coaching and training to run properly and efficiently. The foot should foot land under the pelvis and the hip should extend backwards allowing the natural elasticity of the muscle to pull it forward. Running is a dynamic activity and thus cannot be simply broken down into simple drills. Time is required to make gradual changes to running technique so an optimal efficiency can be attained. Gait re-training is a great way to reduce your injury risk and improve your performance.
Andrew Maitland is a sports podiatrist at the Melbourne Podiatry Clinic. Having worked closely with many elite and amateur runners over the years he has helped many runners in the prevention and treatment of running injuries.