Trying to up your run distance but picking up injuries?
We find with runners that are relatively new to the sport, when they try to increase the mileage as the desire to reach longer event goals kicks in, they start to pick up injuries which just seem to keep coming back and act as a real hindrance to progress.
Why is this?
The pattern is simple to see, you choose to take up running, you join a club or take part in park run with friends and all seems good (which it is) we then feel a 10K would be great and so add more running or maybe we follow a static training plan we achieve this goal and then its half marathon time, what do we do? We increase the mileage. Clubs unfortunately do not tend to offer strength and stretching sessions (would be good to add) Static plans tend to focus on miles and time rather than any extra strength.
Several things are now starting to go wrong that can and most likely will be heading us towards injury.
Firstly our joints need protecting and just running will not do this, we need to add in some strength work (don’t panic no gym membership needed) a series of 5-10 minute routines done at home 2-3 times a week can focus on these weak areas.
- step or chair step ups
- side lunges calf raises
- core work
All the above can all be done at home and help strengthen the weak areas by building muscle to protect them. The best time to add these in is post run, your in your kit so just add 5 minutes and then session is done and more beneficial plus prevention of injury.
Make sure you start on a low number of reps for example 3 x 5 and build these up over time.
A prime case is the knee, we need to build muscle around our knees as this is the only way we can protect them.
Now we have added strength into our plan we need one more thing, STRETCHING yes you do need to do it. This can be in the form of a yoga class once a week or home stretching post exercise. Flexibility is so important in looking after our joints and muscles but also our ability to become fitter.
Now I know there will be people reading this and saying well Joe Bloggs has been running for years and does not do core or any stretching, well this article is not for Joe Bloggs its for people who are getting injuries not those who are not. I also know people who neglect strength and stretching and who do not get issues, but I guarantee you when they do add it they find performance gains that would not have gotten without it.
I personally have sports massage once a month to make sure muscles are free of niggles and I have a foam roller at home which I use (not often as rubbish at this kind of self-torture)
The key is do not compare yourself to other athletes/runners, over 15 years working with 100s of endurance athletes makes it clear we need to follow what works for us not Joe Bloggs.
If you would like any advice on strength, core and flexibility to add to your training then please and I will be happy to help.