All well and good if you’re at mile 25 of your marathon and are planning on taking a well-earned break after the race, but if you ignore a pain in your body that comes on when you run, you’re simply asking for trouble.
Steph from physio4life says: “It’s important that you know your body well enough to tell the difference between normal aches that you’d expect from running long distances, as opposed to the start of an overuse injury. As a general rule, if you have pain that comes on every time you run, or a pain that is only on one side, it is probably something that you should get checked out rather than risk making it worse. The people we see who get ‘niggles’ seen to within the first week tend to make a full recovery much quicker than those who leave things to linger for a few months before seeking help.”
Fail to cross-train
It’s not pie in the sky when people say you can run too much. It’s true. If all you do is run, you will ignore the potential for strengthening your body by using weight training or another form of exercise as part of your regime.
Glynn from physio4life says: “Running is undoubtedly a great form of exercise. But, it does place stress on your joints and can lead to muscular imbalances if it becomes your sole form of exercise. Alternatives, such as cycling or swimming, are great forms of aerobic fitness and can actually help improve your running. Strength training is also very important to help boost performance and provide you with a robust body more able to withstand the rigors of running and avoid injuries.”
Not warming up
Even a finely tuned car worth tens of thousands of pounds will struggle to perform properly in the cold. Your body is similar in that if you don’t warm it up first, not all of its parts will work the way they should.
Steph from physio4life says: “When you’re warmed up you have better circulation delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients the muscles and joints, helping them work more efficiently. For a long training run, start slowly for the first few minutes and get the blood pumping to your arms, legs, hands and feet, then stop briefly for a few dynamic stretches such as leg swings, lunges and alternate tip-toes. It’ll help your legs feel more energized and ready for action.”
Same old, same old
If you run the same route over and over again, you are likely to suffer for it. If the surface is cambered or if the pavement you run on has a slant, one foot will always land higher than the other and this will present problems.
Glynn from physio4life says: “A varied training schedule is crucial to keep a runner motivated, injury-free and to maximize performance. Vary your route to keep things interesting, and run it in both directions to avoid too much repetition. Incorporating a combination of training methods, such as interval, hill and recovery sessions will improve both you aerobic and anaerobic fitness and decrease the chances of picking up a niggling overuse injury.”
New shoes on race day
It’s hard to say which is the dafter, running in old shoes or deciding a race is the best time to show off a box fresh pair of runners. You’ll be popping blisters like your feet are a sheet of bubble wrap.