One thing’s for certain…it’s much better to prevent a running injury than to treat one! But what’s the key? Is it footwear, running technique, stretching and foam rollers, training volume? The list is endless, and that’s because it’s probably a combination of many things. But when time is limited, life is busy and you need to get it right, where do you focus your attention?
By far, the most important issue is how you manipulate your training variables. Some studies have suggested that up to 80% of overuse running injuries are attributable to training errors. How you build your training up—including mileage, terrain, speed, and frequency—is the most important single consideration in avoiding a running injury…full stop.
Regardless of what shoe you wear, how you run, how tight your hamstrings are or how poor your core control, the body needs to adapt to new loads. If you haven’t run much before, or you’re ramping up in preparation for an event, how you choose to do this will be the major factor in determining success or injury.
- plan your event preparation, including the training variables of mileage, terrain, speed, frequency and, of course, the rate of increase in these variables. Discuss your plan with an experienced running physio, who if they’re worth their salt, will also talk to your coach or PT if you have one;
- if you’re unsure on the footwear issue, discuss it with a professional. At present, research evidence suggests that you select a shoe that is comfortable for you, rather than one that has been “prescribed”. The way I address this is to give you a few options and suggest you go for a run around the store, ideally on a treadmill at a good running shop, and select the one that feels the most comfortable.
- have a good biomechanical assessment – it’s a small investment in the overall scheme of things and will allow you to deal with pre-existing issues and help to prevent further problems. A good running physio will be able to join the dots between any old injuries/problems, how you’re moving, and your risk for future injury…and then do something about it for you!
Good Luck with the training and don’t hesitate to touch base with us if we can help in any way. It’s what we do and we love it!