SPRING is here and it's a great time to pull out your running shoes.
Get out and enjoy all of the beauty our community has to offer. Whether you've signed up for a race or are just running for fun, there are some important guidelines to follow that will keep you out on the road or trail and reduce your risk of injury ? Tip 1: Know your limit.
The number one cause of running injures is running too much, too soon and too fast. Running places stress on the body. The body can adapt as long as the applied stress is not greater than its capacity to adapt. Systematic training allows the body time to adapt and recover to handle training demands.
Dramatic changes in training habits in distance, hills, intervals, track work and trail running can all potentially cause injury.
? Tip 2: Use safe/efficient running technique.
It's recommended the foot strike the ground towards the mid or forefoot with the leg under the centre of gravity.
Running at a cadence of 170180 steps per minute forces one to take shorter, lighter steps and avoid over-striding. Increased turnover means less time on the ground with each step decreasing stress.
? Tip 3: Listen to your body. Use pain as your guide.
Over-stepping your maximum capacity to adapt may result initially in morning pain and stiffness, pain after effort and then progress to pain during effort. Listening to the early warning signals can help prevent injury.
If you experience pain that worsens when you run or causes you to alter your gait, stop running. Take a few days off. Cross-train. Use the time to get to the root cause of the problem and start treatment. Most running injuries are musculoskeletal and recover quickly with a few days of rest and treatment.
As you recover, start back to running slowly with decreased mileage and pace. Assess pain daily. If pain comes on during running, stop and walk. If pain comes on after running or the next day, stay at the same level of training until pain settles. Progress slowly.
? Tip 4: Strengthen your muscles.
Muscle strength and balance maintains symmetry. This makes running fluid and allows for consistent gait. If one of the stabilizer muscles is not strong enough, the entire chain of movement is disrupted leading to injury.
? Tip 5: Don't forget to stretch.
Research shows daily stretching has a positive influence on the reduction of injury if practised at a distance from workouts and improves muscle force production, speed, jumping and running economy.
Hold each stretch for 20 seconds. Do three-four repetitions. Focus on stretching the glutei, hamstrings, calves, lower back and hip flexors.
? Tip 6: Consider cross-training.
Low-impact or non-weight bearing cross-training helps decrease load on the body while one continues to train the cardiovascular and skeletal systems. This can reduce the risk of injury. Runners can supplement 25-30 per cent of their running with cross-training.
For cardiovascular fitness, cross-train by swimming, cycling, water-running, rowing, elliptical, cross-country skiing, skating, ball sports or walking. Weight training, plyometrics, ball or Bosu exercises, or yoga can be used to increase strength and improve muscle balance in the muscles required for running. Cross-training is useful when one is injured. Complete rest is rarely the best treatment. A cross-training activity that's not painful or stressful to the injured area is recommended as soon as possible.
? Tip 7: Choose proper shoes.
Running shoes protect our feet from dangerous surfaces and weather. As an increased number of runners became injured, scientists, coaches, athletes and shoe companies started experimenting with the possibility that the shoe could be built to prevent injury. Today, science shows little evidence to support this theory. The new trend in shoes is towards a lighter and more responsive shoe.
Buy runners at a specialized running store. Let the experts watch you run to help choose an appropriate shoe. Run in each potential shoe before buying with the socks that you usually wear. A change to a new shoe should be progressive to allow for adaptation. If you haven't been injured, buy the shoe you currently wear. The average life expectancy for a running shoe is 400-1,000 kilometres.
? Tip 8: Mix it up.
Run on a variety of surfaces.
Jacqui Steinberg, BScPT, CAFCI, is a registered physiotherapist at Aquatic Centre Physiotherapy at the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre. For more information, visit acphysio.com.
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