How often do you see people pounding miles and miles on the treadmill in the gym? Beginners as well as experienced runners will in about 80% of the time attack the roads or the treadmill in gyms in order to get “fitter”. As I have experienced first hand the effects too much running can have on your lower limbs (knees in particular), I can talk about this subject with a great deal of experience. I have also worked with a variety of runners; from the most hard core ultra distance runners, to triathletes and middle distance runners, and therefore come across some of the most common overuse injuries on a weekly basis for many years now.
Why is it that so many people think it is okay to start running without doing any form for strength training first or at least alongside their running training? How long do you think your joints will be able to cope without giving you any pain or discomfort? If you are lucky and have a good running technique,minimal biomechanical disadvantages, appropriate footwear, perform a good warm up etc. you might be one of the lucky ones, and actually be able to keep running for years without suffering any pain or problems, but in a lot of cases injuries to ankles, knees, hips and back might come creeping in.
I know what I am going to say now will make me sound like I am an 80 year old woman and look back at the “good old days”, but if I knew half of the stuff I know today about training, recovery strategies, progressive overload and strength training I would without a doubt added so much more strength training into my own routines alongside all the running I did. This would without a doubt improved all the hours of pain and frustration I have been through as a result of this!
If you are thinking of getting into running or already do I will give you some things to consider in order to stay injury free:
1. Make sure you start gradually, increase your distance and pace week by week
2. Always do a good warm up prior to running, include mobility movements of all the key joints, ankles, knees, hips and back
3. Include strength and balance training alongside your running in order for your musculo skeleteal system to stay strong to support your joints. It has been shown that strength training should be used as a protective measure against musculoskeletal running injuries (I.Munekani et.al 2015).
4. We appropriate footwear, it is always a good idea to invest in proper footwear that matches your foot type. A podiatrist is a specialist in feet and can advise on correct footwear for you.
The clear take home message is!
If you want to do some of this:
Remember to include some of this:
Strength training is great! Don’t overlook the importance of building up a solid foundation for your body if you enjoy running!
1. MUNEKANI, I.; ELLAPEN, T. J.,Does Concurrent Strength and Endurance training improve endurance running, African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dance Mar2015, Vol. 21 Issue 1:1, p46