Often viewed as a low impact and safe choice for getting back into shape, running can be one of the most injurious sports out there. Avoid these training errors to protect your body from the most common injuries that occur when running.
- Training Load - As with any sport, going from 0 to 100 is never a good idea. One of the most common causes of running injuries is increasing our mileage too fast. Studies have shown that in general, increased mileage is one of the best predictors of injuries in runners. This is why it's so important to slowly build up your mileage. When returning to running (whether from a long break or an injury), start light, and build up as your muscles adapt to the new movement and forces being placed on them.
- Too Many Miles In Same Shoes - We know you have your favorite pair of shoes. And while they may be your lucky shoe be aware that a shoe loses 50% of its ability to absorb forces from the ground after 300 miles (approximately). The more miles you have on your shoes, the more forces get transfered up to the knees, hips, and low back.
- Shoe Shape - In a previous article we talked about the importance of building a strong and flexible foot to avoid common lower extremity injuries. Our shoes need to allow for better foot/ankle movement and help build our intrinsic foot muscles. We recommend footwear that is flat, with a flexible sole and is widest in the toe box. Transitioning out of stiff orthotics and highly cushioned shoes will increase the length of yoru running career. For more information about transitioning to more flexible and refer to the Correct Toes Website.
- Running Hills - Downhill running predisposes our bodies to injury. When we run downhill we decrease the knee flexion angle when our heel hits the ground, decreasing our ability to absorb ground reactive forces and increasing the amount of force transferred up the kinetic chain.
- Pace - The speed of our strides can play a role into the in the injuries we sustain when running. Taking shorter, faster strides have been shown to decrease the number of injuries of runners over slower pace, longer stride running. One theory is the longer stride causes an increased heel strike, causing out forefoot to 'slap' the ground and transfer forces into the lower leg.
As we like to say here at Evolve, the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. However, it's unrealistic to expect the body to make a full recovery if we keep aggravating the injury without correcting the cause (whether that be movement or training errors), or 'picking the scab' as we like to call it.