1. Technique Correction
Running is one of the most natural forms of exercise. Our body was build to run, our feet evolved with the capacity for long distance running. So why are running injuries so common, particularly in sport? Well just think about it, who taught you how to run?
Most of us have never been given any technique correction when it comes to running, and whilst our feet are adapted to running, changes in our biomechanics, our height, weight and shape are we age, mean we constantly need to be changing our running style. Without optimal running mechanics you are setting yourself up for injuries like Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints and Calf and Achilles pain just to name a few.
If you are thinking of getting started with training for an upcoming race, or simply want to improve your technique to injury proof your body, i highly recommend Kinetic Revolution. Their technique correction and program work well alongside training you may already be doing and will help improve speed by altering your gait mechanics.
If you are a more advanced running and have had previous issues with Plantar Fasciitis but want to get back to your running, the Plantar Fasciitis Rehabilitation plan if for you!. With a combination of load management strategies and progressive exercise based rehab, you will be able to run without foot pain, develop resilience to running and improve your running form.
2. Correct Footwear!
This one is a particularly important one. Footwear plays an important role in the prevention of injury. A comfortable, well-fitted shoe offers you the best chance of:
- Preventing a foot or toe problem from getting worse.
- Preventing injury to muscles of the foot (plantar fascia).
- Preventing anatomical and functional changes
- Relieving pain in the foot or toe that is caused by a deformity or joint problem.
3. Load and Heart Rate Management
One of the main causes of running injury is overload. You need a solid base fitness level to be able to run regularly, otherwise you risk trying to progress too quickly and will leave yourself vulnerable to injury. You cannot expect to jump from running 2-3 day one week, then 4-5 days the week after and sustain these increases long term.
In order to find the right balance and progressively overload, training volume and training plan need to be adequately defined and managed. You need to take into account training volume, frequency (number of sessions each week and for how long), intensity ( % of maximum heart rate) and type ( distance, slow, fast, hill, sand, gravel, sprint etc).
You also need to take into account what you do for work and life habits (sedentary job, active job etc). The other component to determining load management is the tissue load capacity. This takes into account your base strength levels, control, flexibility, biomechanics, running gait and previous injury history. Deficiencies in any of these areas will almost always be likely to result in increased risk of injury. Be sure to contact your local physiotherapist or podiatrist for a running gait assessment to determine and biomechanic issues that need to be addressed.
4. Warm up well!
Whilst it’s tempting to jump out of bed, put on those runners and head for the hills when your all hyped up and motivated for that 10k race you just signed up for, it can be a recipe for disaster!. If you start out too fast, you run the risk of pulling a muscle, tearing a tendon, or fracturing a bone, or getting into a pace you cannot safely maintain. Adequate warm up is essential in order to prime the body for the load it is about to encounter and increase the capacity of the tendons to withstand this loading. A smart warmup will allow the muscles, joints and tendons to loosen up, gradually increasing the heart rate, and gradually get into a rhythm you can sustain throughout your workout to feel energised, not drained and unmotivated.
A simple warm up may consist of something like:
- Skipping for 30-60 sec
- Side step shuffles for 10-20 meters
- Grapevine for 10-20 meters
- Backward jogging for 50 meters
- Butt kicks for 10 reps each side
- Toe taps for 10 reps each leg
- Walking lunge strides
Add to that a few minutes of foam rolling on the calves, hamstrings, shins and quads and you are ready to go!
5. Appropriate programming
Following the appropriate program is extremely important in order to stay injury free and increase performance. When selecting an appropriate program you need to take into consideration your training history (i.e how much exercise you were doing before you started running), what type of running event you are training for (long distance/sprint) and how long you have to train before the event. Ideally you would not want any less than 12 weeks to train for a long distance event such as a half-marathon, ideally 16 weeks would be preferable.
Whether your goal is just to complete the race, or you want to improve your timing, using a program written by a professional runner is always going to give you that competitive advantage. Not only do they have a better understanding of the demands of the exercise, they also have first hand experience with load management.
Whether you’re running your first marathon or are a seasoned veteran, i recommend starting with the 100 day marathon plan. With 8 different training schedules based on your goals, workouts based on training in the optimal heart rate zone to maximise your health and 15 instructional videos to guide you it’s the most comprehensive plan to ensure you reach your goals in a safe and competitive manner.
Put our top 5 tips into place before your next race to stay injury free, avoid burnout and keep enjoying your workouts.