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Running... the do's and don't's to keep you on track this summer

Running is a great way to keep active, healthy and relieve some stress from a day’s work, contrary to popular opinion it actually isn’t even bad for your knees. Unless your training regime is unsuitable then you may experience pain –

Unfortunately running doesn’t come without its risks, understanding a few simple facts can help you to prevent injuries and keep you running.

Previous injuries

The number one predictor of a running related injury is if you’ve had an injury in the last 12 months (Saragiotto et al, 2014). So, if you’ve recently started running and are concerned, something is niggling or you are unable to run then seek advice and get it sorted. Its also worth noting that most people suffer an injury reoccurrence 4-6 weeks after starting a sport. The body has this incredible mechanism of coping for 4-6 weeks, after this our tissues appear not to deal with the loads and we start to get trouble.

Training errors

Another common problem we see causing injuries is errors in training programmes. Ideally all of your runs should have a purpose e.g. tempo runs, interval or endurance session, of these sessions it is suggested that 80% are low intensity and only 20% high intensity e.g. interval (Seiler 2010). What this means is that if you are running 6 days per week with lots of ‘dead miles’ (runs with no true purpose other than to get them in) potentially you are entering dangerous territory. It’s also really important not to compare yourself to anyone else, there will always be people who can run every day with no ill effects – they are unique and most of us aren’t them! A final point to make on training is increasing our training loads, if you run a bigger total weekly distance there is less room to increase, current guidelines suggest increasing by 10% if you run a total of >20km, 20% increase for 10-20km total and 30% increase if you run 0-10km. Remember if you are a new runner, you may need to individualise this, not everyone’s bodies are the same.

Only running

Now this one seems like bad news – its not. Running and running alone without any other form of training has been shown to have a higher injury rate. Adding some simple strength routines on your non-running days can be what’s needed, this doesn’t require a gym membership, there is so much you can do at home, squats, lunges, burpees, step ups the list goes on. The addition of a kettlebell or dumbbell can make it more interesting too. We should be particular attention to hamstring, calf strength, quads and glute strength as these are all really important in running (Dorn et al 2012).

Sleep, nutrition and the ‘other stuff’…

You may have read my February blog on the importance of sleep, for many reasons. The pertinent topic here is for recovery, sleep is when your body does its healing, it’s the same as when you back up your computer or put your electric toothbrush back on charge, its your bodies way up ‘updating’. There have been links to a lack of sleep and decision making, reaction times and healing process all of which are slower when you don’t get enough sleep. Enough sleep? Generally we need to give ourselves a window of 7-8 hours each night. Nutrition is just as important, you can’t expect your body to work well and recover well without appropriate fuel. Insuring you drink enough throughout the day and after exercise.

So to summarise:

- Get any previous injuries checked out

- Ditch the excess miles

- Mix your running with some strength training

- Get 7-8 hours sleep, eat well and drink plenty of water

It is as easy as that….

As always any questions please feel free to contact us 01823 330689 or

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