Running is a great way to get your cardio in. Not only for the health benefits, but it’s also a free activity and super convenient. You can either run outside to your heart’s content or stay inside and use a treadmill. You can do it for fun, or even train for a marathon. There is a downside though. You could end up overtraining and injure yourself. You may be surprised to know that injuries from overuse are actually more common than ligament and muscle sprains and strains.
The main types of injuries from running are as follows (from highest % to lowest %):
- Foot & ankle
- Lower leg
- Hip & pelvis
Reasons for running injuries:
- Frequency (running too often)
- Lack of strength & flexibility
- Rough & uneven surfaces
- Improper footwear
How to help prevent injuries & have a positive running experience:
- Visit your physiotherapist to identify possible health & musculoskeletal issues before taking on this new hobby.
- Enroll in a running clinic where you will be trained on technique and educated on safety. They will be sure to instruct you on the importance of warming up and cooling down as well.
- Always stay hydrated. Drink water (and/or electrolytes) before, during, and after your runs.
- Be well prepared – have the proper equipment, check the weather, know your route. Wear reflective clothing. If you are tired or if it is too hot outside, it would be a good idea to delay your run to another day. Early morning and late afternoons are usually ideal. Stick to even and smooth surfaces. Choose well-lit and busy areas.
- Pace yourself – ease into it and don’t run every day. Ideally, you’ll want to take 24-48 hours to rest and recovery between running sessions.
- Take breaks. You also don’t want to be too ambitious, thinking you’ll be running a marathon within a week. Build up your speed and distance gradually.
- Stretch before and after your runs. Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises into your fitness routine. Consult with your physiotherapist as to the type of exercises you should be focusing on.
- Visit your doctor and physiotherapist as soon as you injure yourself or if something feels off. The last thing you want to do is just hope that the problem will resolve on it’s own and keep running, as that could lead to further and more severe injuries. Pain is a sign that you are over-exerting yourself.
If you are located in the Vancouver area, come see us at Dunbar Physio. You’ll be in great hands with any of our highly qualified and professional physiotherapists. Book an appointment online or call us at 604-266-3303.