Running always seems like a great plan at the beginning, but it seems 3 weeks down the line people can feel twinges in their knees, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves etc.
This can be caused by numerous of reasons and tends to differ from person to person depending on body type, posture and alignment, running technique alongside many others. There are some ways however that you can prevent injury.
Firstly you need to build strength in the muscles you are going to use whilst running. You wouldn’t go and lift 40kg in a gym if you have never weight trained before! So the same should apply for running. You need to build strength first before putting your body through a 3-mile run! If your muscles cannot support your joints then you are more likely to suffer from knee, hip and lower back pain. Your muscles, ligaments and tendons need to be able to work together to provide an efficient movement pattern and to act like natural shock absorbers against the force of the running movement pattern. In the landing phase the body needs to absorb a tremendous amount of force, strong muscles will brace and prepare the body for impact as the foot hits the ground. Your core muscles need to be strong as well to enable the lower and upper body to work together, allowing for a fluid chain of movement from your toes right up to your head.
Alongside a good strength-training workout, you need to make sure you warm up properly before you start running. Proper warm ups and cool downs have shown to reduce the risk of getting a running injury (1). Most runners will leave their house and go straight into their running session. Your muscles will not have had time to warm up and become pliable to the movement you are putting them through this way. It is important to have a good warm up routine consisting of dynamic stretches, and movement patterns that relate to the movement you are about to carry out.
Make sure you stretch and use the foam roller. Running places a huge amount of stress on the body and if you do not stretch and massage your muscles regularly then you are on the road to injury. Illiotibial band syndrome is one of the most common injuries in runners and the risk can be reduced, by using the foam roller regularly on the muscle (2). Make sure you massage your feet a couple of times a week. I find a tennis ball works wonders and is a great way of preventing plantar fasciitis. Lastly make sure you focus on stretching out both your hamstrings and calves.
Footwear is also extremely important in reducing the risk of injury. Wrong shoes or old shoes can be detrimental to your body whilst running and can be a causing factor of pain (3). A shoe specialist should be able to help you find a trainer that suits your foot and running style. The sweatshop offers a personal service, which allows you to try out the shoes on the treadmill. They also give you a month to try them out and if they are not feeling great they allow you to exchange them for a different style. Check out there website here.
For more information on how to prevent injuries or if you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mechelen V, Hlobil H, Kemper H, Woorn W, de Jongh H. Prevention of running injuries by warm-up, cool-down and stretching exercises. Am J Sports Med. 1993;21:711-9.
- Fredericson M, Wolf C. Illiotibial band syndrome in runners. Sports Med. 2005:35;451-459.
- Fields K, Sykes J, Walker k, Jackson J. Prevention of running Injuries. Current sports medicine results. 2010;9:176-182.