Friday, 29 September 2017

AVOIDING THE DREADED "I" WORD...INJURY

Image from Pinterest

Sitting here with a slightly twinging knee and an aching foot which has stopped me from going on my run, I decided to write a new post on injury, and if possible, how to avoid it.

The most likely time you may come face to face with an injury, is as a new runner, or at the beginning of a new training programme. Your body may not be used to the new pressure and demand, and too much, too soon can equal injury.

I was only one week into my new half marathon training, when I started to feel twinges at the front of my legs. 6 months prior, I was used to running 20+ miles a week, so I thought I would jump straight in (after having 6 months off and not running more than 10km) with a 17 mile week, followed by 19 miles the next week. They say as soon as you start to feel that twinge, to stop and consult someone before it becomes a true ache or pain. So my first point of contact was one of my closest friends, who also happens to be a Sports Therapist obtaining her Masters degree. She said the two words I have always feared hearing… “shin splints”. NO! I had never had shin splints before, so I didn’t understand why. Rachael (my super handy sports therapist!) explained shin splints to me in depth, and how I didn’t give my legs and muscles enough time to ease into routine, and that I should have started off with lower mileage. However, you can’t go back in time! So Rachael adjusted my plan and put me on a 2:1 training programme. I had to have a week off, doing other cardio based work and one 3 mile run on soft ground, followed by two weeks of my usual running plan, followed by another week of lower mileage and other cardio. I have basically been repeating this cycle over and over, but my mileage has been gradually increasing on the off week, but is still a lower mileage week. Since that first week off, I have had no further shin pain, and the lower mileage weeks have really helped rest muscles when needed and allowed me more time to focus on other types of training.

Rachael is amazing at what she does! You can follow her Instagram by clicking here


IT'S NOT JUST AT THE START OF A NEW PROGRAMME! Unfortunately, we are always at risk of injury. Especially if our form is off. I have been battling a rotten cold, and as the weather has been cold and damp, running outside was hardly going to help. So I gave myself some rest, and once my cold went headed back out onto the roads. I hit a new PB on that run, and then the next day (yesterday) felt a little worse again. I struggled throughout on that run, and because I was tired, my form was off and I was running like a slow version of Pheobe from ‘Friends’. This is why my knee and foot hurts today, because I was running awkwardly. I have (hopefully) not actually done any damage, I just need to remember that if I am too tired to run properly, then I just shouldn’t run.

SO…top tips to avoid injury?


Image from https://musingsponderingsandrants

Think more tortoise, than hare. Too much, too soon, too fast…and you’re asking for the “I” word. They say when creating a new training programme, to use the 10% rule. If you are going to increase your weekly mileage, then do so at no more than 10% each week (this is a guideline, so remember to adjust it for YOU). That way you are building your body and muscles up for the training demands and allowing time to handle it.

Wish all my rest days could be spent on the beach!


Rest. It is sometimes hard to remember that rest should be part of a training programme too. I myself go a little crazy on days I don’t run, so must channel my energy elsewhere, like doing yoga or writing my blog. The body needs time to adapt from training changes and jumps in mileage or intensity. You really don’t want to break before you build.

Planking for abs of steel (disclaimer...I usually plank for pizza)


Cross train. Other types of training are so important. If we have a weak core, or weak calves, we may be more prone to injury. Try to dedicate one day a week to strength training. Your running will probably improve, and you are lowering your risk of injury. I love yoga, so do a lot of Vinyasa to work on my core. However I have also just joined the gym to incorporate some weight training into my regime.

Casual stretching in the jungle...


Stretch. Stretching is SO important! If I forget (cannot be bothered) to stretch, then my quads in particular really hurt the next day and start to knot up. Always stretch, and try to focus one a day a week on stretching and foam rolling. I again, use yoga as my ‘fun’ way to stretch.
Really, it is just about being able to listen to your body. We are training our bodies to push past a barrier, that tired feeling and that mental barrier too. Yet some days, maybe you do just need a day off.


“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit” Banksy.

I have just 2 weeks until my next half marathon, and then the first 26.2 mile training commences! No quitting from me!

Livvy

Runners world always have great tips on how to avoid injury. Here is a good post covering form, training and the right shoes!

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