Approximately 3 million Australians participate in running – from our elite athletes through to weekend warriors.
Benefits of Running
Running is an amazing way to stay physically active, with benefits ranging from:
- improved cardiovascular health
- strengthened bones
- increased muscular strength and endurance
- improved mood and energy
- immproved stress management
In the current climate, running has become more and more popular. It is not only a form of exercise but also an outlet for people suffering high stress and anxiety. However, if you’re a regular runner, you’ve likely experienced a running-related injury. This can be frustrating as it prevents you from staying active and doing what you love.
One of the most common mistakes runners make is increasing their running loads too quickly. Some studies have found that sudden increases in weekly running distances over a two week period of more than 30% can increase the risk of overuse injuries. This is compared to runners who kept their progressions in running distance of less than 10%. Basically, if you are new to running it’s advisable to keep your running volume increase to less than 30% of your total over a 2 week period. Ideally, 10% incremental increases in running volume are recommended.
Regular resistance training should be included in all regular runners training. This is because it not only improves running performance but it can also reduce the risk of injury. Strength training for endurance athletes has been shown to:
- improve running economy (energy demands for a given velocity of submaximal running)
- improve neuromuscular characteristics such as power and strength
- improve time to exhaustion.
This translates into being able to run greater distances at faster speeds. With gyms closed at the moment strength training can difficult but not impossible. Simple body weight exercises can be adapted to be more challenging or can even be combined with any weights at home. Unilateral (single leg) training is particularly useful because it is both challenging. It also translates over to running where we spend so much time on one leg. Check out our recent videos on our Youtube page for some useful exercises you can do at home to assist your running. I’ve also listed some at the bottom of this page in the Resources section.
The Right Support
I love new runners and if you, like me, need no excuse for a new pair, here’s your chance. Starting a runner rotation increases the life of your shoes. A recent study found it can reduce the risk of injuries for runners by up to 39%. This can be expensive with a large rotation but just having a second pair of runners to switch to is a good start.
Another useful technique runners can utilise is regular foam rolling. This is best utilised as a recovery method after runs where you may experience local inflammation, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and increased neurological tone in the tissues (perceived as tightness).
Foam rolling for a few minutes per tissue after training can assist the body clear out this inflammation, reduce local tone of the tissues and increase blood flow into these tissues which will provide them with important nutrients and clear out waste products within the muscles. Used regularly in this way foam rolling can assist the body in speeding up the recovery process.
Seek Health Professional Advice Before It’s Too Late
As runners we are all individuals with different goals, injury history, strengths and weaknesses. This is why it may be important to be assessed by your healthcare professional, especially if you’re experiencing pain. You don’t want to held back from doing what you love, whether that be a casual after work jog or training for a specific event.
This is where your friendly osteos at Pakenham Osteopathy come in. We will work with you to get you back out there doing what you love! So give us a call today. Or if you have any running or strength training related questions, please shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 5941-4157.
Here are some exercise videos to help improve your running performance and minimise your risk of injury: