Running Injury Avoidance

Running is a great way to exercise, especially during Lockdown! Change into your running gear, do a couple of stretches and head straight out the front door. If you aim to run around 5km, you’ll be back in 30 – 40 mins. A quick, easy way to exercise perfectly suited to the busy, time poor life.

However, running can be a very strenuous exercise. If you’re a complete newbie starting out, or re-starting after a lengthy lay off, injuries are extremely common. 

They’re also very common in the more experienced runner, should they be pushing themselves to improve their fitness, train for a comp, or fun run. They’re typically different injuries to the newbie, however.

Starting from the ground up. The most common running injuries we tend to see include painful- feet, heels, achilles, knee, outer hip, and lower back. Or, in more medical terms – plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathy, patellofemoral or iliotibial band syndrome, gluteus medius tendinopathy or trochanteric bursitis, and finally quadratus lumborum spasm. We’ll cover off on these in excruciating detail in our upcoming Practical Self Help Guide series.

The first thing to realise is that injury always happens when the load you’re imparting on the body exceeds its tolerance.

The body is an adaptation machine. It just needs the right amount of stimulus, and time, to allow it to adapt. Loading up too much too soon, and not allowing enough time to recover and adapt, leads to injury.

If you don’t push yourself hard enough, you won’t have much of an effect. Push yourself too hard, you’ll probably injure yourself. Often when you start exercising, you can feel OK running for 5 to 10 mins. You’ve really warmed up, and any stiffness, aches and pains, slowly fade away. But the next morning you can wake up, get out of bed and feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.

Keep pushing yourself too hard, and not allowing enough time to recover, will inevitably lead to pain and injury.

A great tool that we love, and strongly recommend, is the Couch to 5K Runner App.

It takes you through a graduated walk/run interval system to be able to run 5 Km’s non stop by the end of the 8 week program. Ramp up the load slowly, give the body time to adapt, and avoid injury when starting out or returning to running.