Every runner knows that aches and pains are a normal part of running. Tight muscles or soreness on the days following a long run or a speed workout are common. Stretching properly after a warm-up and cool-down can help keep these tweaks and tight areas from turning into full blown running injuries.
Sometimes, however, we push through the pain and overdo it. The most common causes of running injuries are too much, too fast, and too soon. Run365 coaches believe in a gradual progression throughout the training process, and our program is designed to ease runners into more mileage at faster speeds.
Every body is different, and will respond in different ways to mileage levels and new forms of exercise. Even with the best layed training plans, injuries are bound to occur. Run365 organizes injury prevention clinics at its training runs to help educate our runners on prevention, warning signs, and treatment.
Our partners at Innersport and Transition fitness have compiled a comprehensive injury prevention manual for our runners. Every runner–beginners, seasoned veterans, marathon maniacs would benefit from reading through this manual.
Injury Prevention Common Sense
The most important thing to remember about athletics is: REST IS CRUCIAL. Your body needs time to recover after hard efforts, and rest days will make you a better runner in the long run.
Another adage to live by: IF IT HURTS, STOP. Pain is the body’s way of telling us all to slow down and take it easy. Any good training plan is adaptable. You can always add on more training, but you can’t take it away if you’ve done too much. Don’t let a little pain become a huge pain. If pain continues for more than 2-3 days seek medical care- from a sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist.
Finally, improving your running technique will go a long way in reducing hip, foot and knee injuries. There are several running technique methods that will help to reduce running and walking injury and increase the efficiency of your performance. Our video TrainingWell has elements from programs you may be familiar with including Pose and Chi Running.
Training Well Video
Common Running Injuries
Here is a quick guide to 5 common running injuries – their causes and treatments: (Sean Fishpool, Beginner’s Guide to Long Distance Running) and http://www.runnersrescue.com/
|Achilles Pain/Strain is located at the back of the leg about 2-8 cm above the heel. The achilles tendon connects the heel to the lower leg muscles. The tendon joins three powerful muscles, the two heads of the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel bone.||This is often caused by an excessive increase in speed or mileage, worn-out shoes, or by overpronation.||Ice and rest are the correct responses; when the swelling has disappeared, gently start to stretch the lower calf and ankle, and seek massage.|
|Hamstring pain is intense pain in the back of the thigh. It is important to distinguish between a hamstring strain and sciatica as these conditions are often confused. A hamstring strain usually occurs in the centre of the thigh, unlike sciatica which will have a point of origin at the outer side of the thigh. Sciatica often produces pain in the hip, lower back and even down to the feet. All this from one nerve being pinched! A simple test to distinguish between the two is to lie on your back and raise one leg having your knee straight, if this hurts it’s probably a hamstring strain. Ask somebody to flex your foot, bending your foot towards your knee. If this produces pain then it’s probably sciatica.||Hamstring pains are often caused by a sudden or excessive increase in speed or mileage. Also running or sprinting downhill at speeds that you are not accustomed to. Running on slopped roads and banked surfaces can cause a hamstring strain as the muscle is over stretched to keep a balanced running stride. Over pronation (foot imbalance) can also lead to hamstring strain.||Rest, easy running, and massage are the best solutions to most hamstring tears. Avoid hill running and speed work, ice the injury and stretch regularly.|
|Knee pain is pain around and sometimes behind the knee cap while running. This condition can produce a crunching or clicking sound while running which can be highly disconcerting.||Knee pain can be caused by a problem with the knee itself or by a problem elsewhere. This is a very common running injury and usually affects those that have just started to increase the distance to 40 miles per week. The pain may also increase when running downhill and even after periods of rest. Check that muscle tightness isn’t the source.||Stretch your iliotibial band (I.T.) gluteal muscles and quadriceps, and mobilize your lower back. Ensure that your shoes are providing enough stability for your needs.|
|Shin splints are the pain along the shinbone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg. The pain is the result of an overload on the shinbone (often from pounding) and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone.||This pain along the front of the shins is caused by swelling of the muscles, tendons, or bone coverings. It is caused by overpronation, increased speed, and hard surfaces. Over-used or poorly-fitted running shoes are the most common reason people get this overuse injury.||The RICE Treatment will help (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate). It is important to stretch and strengthen the shins, ankles and claves. Avoid running on hard surfaces. Replace your running shoes at least every 6 months – even if they have just been sitting on a shelf! Have a shoe seller at a running store fit you properly for your running shoes.|
|Plantar fasciitis is the irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. The most common complaint is pain in the bottom of the heel, usually worst in the morning and improving throughout the day. By the end of the day the pain may be replaced by a dull aching that improves with rest.||Damage to the thick band that connects your heel to the base of your toes appears as pain at the base of your heel.||Stretch your calves and Achilles tendons. Also, curl your toes and shift your weight to the outside of your foot as you stretch. A sports medicine specialist can help with massage and ultrasound treatment.|
|Low Back Pain is the deep, aching, dull or burning pain in one area of the back or traveling down the legs. Acute back pain may also be felt as a sharp, localized pain.||Back pain is common among running because of the excessive strain pounding can cause on the joints.||The best prevention and treatment for low back pain is a strong core. The core is comprised of muscles of the abdominal and pelvic wall, as well as the muscles of the back. Add daily abdominal work and low-back exercises, as well as stretches to your training program. Heat and massage can help ease back pain.|
It can take years to tell the difference between temporary discomfort and damage, but prompt action in the latter case will swing the balance between the need to take a couple of easy recovery days, and the need for weeks of total rest and medical treatment. Unlike discomfort, harmful pain tends to be localized and unfamiliar.
Ten best ways to avoid injury
- Don’t stretch cold muscles
- Wear good running shoes
- Run on soft surfaces (avoid the sidewalks as much as you can!)
- Ease into your runs
- Build mileage and speed gradually
- Don’t run on hard days consecutively
- Don’t ignore pain
- Treat pain promptly
- Return from illness or injury cautiously
- Cross-train and strength train