Injuries are a runner’s worst enemy – we all hate spending time on the sidelines, especially if there’s a big event coming up. Here, our resident physio has some important tips to keep you fit and healthy as you prepare for your next event.
Take note of warning signs
Niggles are a common occurrence in running as your body continually adapts to the load. A recovery period allows your body to respond by increasing muscle mass and building stronger bones. A fine balance exists between too little and too much load.
Niggles that are not going away are an early warning sign, so seek help or don’t be afraid to have an extra recovery day to get you back on track.
Don’t try hard to change your running style
Too many runners are becoming injured trying to change quickly from a heel strike to a forefoot strike pattern. Your running style is what comes natural to you and is wholly dependent on fitness, postures you adopt outside of running and over the years from sitting and so on.
Seek help to work on changing the underlying issues so you run better naturally and efficiently not forced and inefficient.
Listen to advice given by your physiotherapist
Sometimes it is not what you want to hear but it is what you need! Do seek out a physiotherapist used to treating runners though, as it does make a big difference to the advice given - especially on the type and amount of training to do if you’re injured.
Correct shoe size is critical
Get a shoe that fits your foot with, at least, a centimetre gap at the front, to allow your foot to swell, move naturally and your plantar fascia to work efficiently - and not get tight and painful.
If you are indoors most of the day and either run early morning or in the evening, then it is likely that you will have low Vitamin D levels. Frequent muscle and joint pain, tiredness and low mood are all associated with low Vitamin D and can all be associated with an injury too!
Ensure you get outdoors for a minimum of 15 minutes at lunchtime for a walk, and have your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor if in doubt. In the past 12 months I have seen three injured runners with clinically very low Vitamin D levels who all got better with supplementation rather than physiotherapy.
About the author: Jenny Blizard BSc (Hons), MCSP, HPC is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Clinic Director BLIZARD PHYSIOTHERAPY and Sports Performance Clinic