How to avoid running into trouble

Last month we talked about heel pain and its many names and causes.  Sadly there will be many new, seasoned runners and keep fitters whose New Year fitness regimes are being affected by it.

If you are one of them and the pain is settling and you are thinking about getting back out there, or if you are a bit delayed in getting your new fitness plans off the ground maybe take heed of the following tips to help you steer clear of injuries.

  1. Build up slowly – one of the biggest risk factors for running injuries is doing too much too soon.  Build up your running distances and frequency slowly.  This allows your tissues time to build themselves up to tolerate the new loads and stresses and strains you are putting through the system.
    • Avoid being drawn into challenges like run every day for a month – if you aren’t used to it it’s a really quick way to get injured and loose the enjoyment you can get from running.
    • Initially give your body a good 36-48 hours between running or other impact training sessions to allow your body time to adapt to the new loads you are putting on it.
    • Consider using an equation like the acute:chronic workload ratio to guide how many miles you are running each week.  Your chronic fitness is the average running miles over the last four weeks and your acute load is the miles you are doing this week.  If that ratio is over 130% you have a much higher chance of injury.
    • If you are new to running keep a steady pace on your runs over the first 6-8 weeks – let your body get used to things before taking on interval, sprint, hill or Fartlek training runs. 
  1. Running trainers – okay – so running is meant to be a cheap sport/activity – and generally it is compared to many others out there.  It does get more expensive if you get injured and need to spend money on getting yourself fixed!  So try and avoid getting injured in the first place and make sure you are running in some specific running trainers.  
    • There’s a lot of science that goes into running trainers these days and they are there to help out.  It’s tough on the body when you are starting out with running – so don’t make it even harder by running in social flat trainers, trainers which are years old, too small/big etc. 
    • Change your running trainers every 500 miles or 6 months – whichever comes round sooner.  Think about your trainers which take the impact first with each and every step you take.  Just looking at the sole is a poor indicator of wear as it won’t tell you how worn out the upper supportive material is.
    • You don’t need to buy the most expensive pair of trainers on the market.  Sometimes those extra features haven’t been proven yet to be any more effective than good old EVA foam; which is the mainstay of most running trainers soles.  Try on lots of pairs and the pair that feels most comfortable is probably a good shout for you to get.

Next month we will add some more top tips to help avoid getting injuries as you start out with running.  

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