Running through the wall

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Running 2Stop injuries stopping you

Welcome to the first in a three-part series focusing on tips for runners.

Whether you are a competitive runner, new to the sport or thinking about taking it up, running expert and podiatrist Kate Caetano shares some advice and tips designed to help you and your body enjoy the experience and avoid injury.

Once you have the runners’ bug, it’s hard to ignore. Just get out and enjoy the blood pumping. Enjoy the high of endorphins, while your stress melts away and revel in the atmosphere of the outdoors or gym.

However, injuries and niggles come with the territory of running’s repetitive stresses. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, triathlon-focused or elite athlete, little can annoy more than knowing pain is going to be part of your experience.

Perhaps you have been training for an event, you’re less than 10 days away and that niggle has got worse. And then suddenly you’re still limping two days after your last run.

You’re not going to be able to run the Sunday event, you have an injury. What could have prevented this common scenario?

Let’s take a look at some golden rules, and maybe some silver ones too.

Running is one of the most natural forms of exercise, but it’s also the most prone to injuries and overuse syndromes.

The repetitive forces through the foot and all the way up to the shoulders, requires the whole body to work together, to effectively absorb and distribute through our body mechanics.

Let’s break it down.

During foot strike, approximately two to four times your body weight travels up through the ankle, knee, thigh, hips and spine, to reach the head only six milliseconds later. The average runner is expected to strike the ground 480 to 1200 times every kilometre. This seems a lot, but the body is perfectly engineered to surpass these loading forces.

However, when the body is not running correctly and therefore shock absorbing as it’s designed, injury hits.

The body needs each joint to shock absorb effectively, each leg needs the big muscles to absorb, and small muscles, tendons and ligaments to support and reduce unnecessary rotation torque forces. Then the force has to transfer through the upper body to ensure energy isn’t wasted.

Clearly injuries aren’t due to the forces of running, but relate to how the body is being loaded, unstable mechanical alignment, poor muscle function or physiological status.

runningTips for running

Making sure the body is balanced, the muscles are strong enough and joints are aligned to handle the forces we put through them, is just as important as the fitness to keep them going.

Are we activating power muscles such as the glutes, obliques and hamstrings to allow energy efficiency and prevent small muscle overloading?

Is your arm swing coming from your shoulder or your body? It should just be your shoulders, as rotating your torso wastes energy and makes the body unstable when you land.

Are we giving our body a warm up and a cool down? Warm ups allow the body to prepare for some hard work by gently raising body heat and enhancing circulation. While a cool down slowly normalises heart rate and flushes the muscles of accumulated waste products.

Get your running assessed to ensure your injury risk factors can be checked and helped. The Running School in Hamilton looks at what your running style is and how your body is coping with it.

Then we look at how it can be more balanced, reduce condensed structure loading, be more energy efficient and help you run better, faster and enjoy it more.

The Running School

What is it? A 12-week one-on-one running programme designed to condition and coach you to safer, faster, better running through six one-hour sessions and running-based exercises classes.

Who runs it? Kate Caetano at Advance Wellness Hamilton.

How can it help me? The Running School can help if you are wanting to get back into running, are training for an event, trying to prevent pain or injury, or just want to improve your running goals. The Running School helps to safely improve running technique and power efficiency through visual, verbal and drill-based feedback.

For more information visit Advancewellness.co.nz

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