It is officially spring and that means the beginning of race season for runners in Calgary! There are events every weekend over the next several months, which means runners have been ramping up their training with increased mileage and intensity. Following a well thought out training plan is important to get you across the finish line, but that doesn’t just mean more pounding the pavement. To have your best running season, you need to consider some injury prevention strategies.
Strength training has been found to reduce the incidence of over-use running related injuries such as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, shin splints and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (runner’s knee) Adding in a few specific core and lower extremity exercises 2-3x per week can make a real difference to proper mechanics while you run. Incorporating a few minutes of daily foam rolling will help by reducing the formation of adhesions and increasing the blood flow to the tissue. Foam rollers are our product of the month so grab one at a discount if you don’t have one. Also, stretching or yoga will help you to maintain range of motion that is required to move through a normal gait pattern. Holding poses in yoga challenges your balance that can improve foot strength and proprioception, both of which are particularly important for trail runners.
When it comes to shoes, a recent study recommended using at least two different pairs of running shoes for training to reduce your incidence of injury. Different shoes cause your foot muscles to work in different ways. It also allows the properties in the shoe to recover from compression of the foam or letting the upper dry out after a wet run.
There is nothing more disappointing than putting in months of training only to sit out on race day because of an injury. An overuse running related injury is described as an injury that causes you to reduce frequency, speed, distance or duration for more than one week. Research estimates between 50-70% of runners will sustain an overuse injury each year. The best predictor of getting injured is having a previous injury. By incorporating some strength training, stretching and/or foam rolling as well as changing up your shoes can help you to beat the statistics. If you notice discomfort or pain that is holding you back for more than a few runs, come and see us! Our team of practitioners can help you crush your next race.
Shari Macdonald is a Registered Physiotherapist with 20 years of clinical experience. She has completed post-graduate certifications in sport, acupuncture, IMS and manual therapy. In 2013, she completed a MSc in Biomechanics. Shari enjoys educating people about injury prevention. Her clinical practice focuses on addressing poor biomechanical movement patterns, imbalances in strength and flexibility and improving core stability to keep an active population doing what they love. Shari is currently a board member of Run Calgary (Calgary Marathon Society).