How to Take a Holistic Approach to Preventing Injury While Running
Running injuries are common. So common, in fact, that an estimated 50 percent of runners get injured every year , with some experts suggesting the actual number could be even higher. Common injuries include stress fractures, IT bracelet injuries, and runner knee injuries. And over the past year, many people have changed their running routine – some out of necessity and others out of increased stress or anxiety.
“I have seen a dramatic increase in stress fractures, which are overuse injuries resulting from hard impacts,” said Dr. Catherine Rizzone , assistant professor of orthopedics at the University of Rochester who specializes in the treatment of runner injuries.
Over the past year, Rizzone has had many injuries such as tendonitis and stress fractures. Given that she lives in Rochester, New York, she also saw many injuries from runners slipping on snow and ice during the first months of quarantine, when the weather was cold and slippery and gyms were closed.
In a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living , researchers surveyed over 1,000 runners about how they ran before and during blocking, as well as any injuries they might have suffered.
Of the 10 percent of runners who reported being injured while blocking, some of the common risk factors included increasing the frequency of intense training, moving their training site, for example, from the road to trails, and having less time to train during training. blocking, as well as making several simultaneous changes to your workouts.
While this study has a number of limitations – including self-generated data and a skewed set of respondents, most of whom are women – the results do match some of what Rizzone saw at her runner’s clinic last year. Since conditions have changed in the past year, many of us have changed our daily routine.
That’s why it’s now more important than ever to look at your overall training regimen to avoid some of the common injuries Rizzone saw in runners during the pandemic. To avoid becoming one of Rizzone’s next patients, here are a few training strategies she recommends:
Cross training is important
For many runners, indoor gyms meant they couldn’t do regular cross-training like swimming, cycling, or an elliptical trainer.
“Instead, they went back to running six to seven days a week. For many, this was unwise, ”said Rizzone.
As a result, she saw far more overexertion injuries in runners who used to cross-train regularly but returned to simple running. To avoid overuse injuries, make sure you incorporate cross training into your daily routine and not just jog all the time.
Increase the intensity gradually
If you’re trying to increase your training volume, whether it’s total mileage or intensity, it’s best to do it gradually. In terms of mileage, it is recommended that you avoid increasing your total mileage by more than 10 percent per week.
Rizzone advises working on increasing your total mileage and intensity at different times. For example, you can spend a couple of weeks increasing the mileage, and then a couple of weeks increasing the intensity.
“If you increase the amount and intensity at the same time, you are really in trouble,” she said. “Increase one at a time.”
Strength training helps
Runners are known to be poor at incorporating strength training into their daily routine. However, strength training has many benefits for runners.
“Runners have lower bone density than other people, so they must exercise to protect their bones,” Rizzone said.
Resistance training also has the advantage of increasing your overall body strength and correcting some of the muscle imbalances that occur with constant running. The leg muscles you get from running are a definite advantage, but it’s also nice to have a strong core and some upper body strength.
Rest and recovery factor
Runners often overlook the value of rest.
“Recovery days are very important,” Rizzone said. “People shouldn’t run six or seven days a week.”
For people who find it difficult to rest, they can do relative rest when they do a different type of workout that uses a different set of muscles, such as yoga, strength training, or cross training. It’s important to avoid using the same set of muscles over and over again, as this will lead to injury.
Be aware of other lifestyle changes
Even runners who have had a consistent training schedule in the past year have had problems, mainly due to changes in their lives. One reason is that we are more sedentary than before, which can lead to back problems. Another surprising culprit is the fact that working from home means most people don’t wear shoes during the day. If you get leg pain but haven’t made significant changes to your workout, you can try wearing the shoes for a few days.
“Last year I saw a lot more leg pain in runners,” Rizzone said. Eventually, she learned to ask if they were wearing day shoes. For many of them, the answer was no.
“The pain in the legs of many people began to improve as they began to wear shoes more regularly,” she said.
There are injuries. When they do, they are frustrating for a number of reasons, not least because they have to sit on the sidelines when all you want to do is get out of here again. To prevent injury, it is important to approach training from a holistic point of view and remember that the goal is to train safely for long periods of time.