Let me guess, as a runner…you’ve been injured right? More than once? Probably.
Statistics say that running related injury is very common. I’ve seen data ranging from 52% all the way to 90% for marathoners will get some type of RRI during a training cycle. Now clearly, there are different severities. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a rest day and boom, you’re back at it again. Other times it puts you on the shelf…for a long time.
Here are three insights as to why we get injured. May this give you some guidance on how to prevent it moving forward.
* I would say, 80% of the time (just a guess), RRI is due to a training error of some type. What constitutes a training error you ask? Let me list the most common ones.
1. Too much too soon: I was doing 5 miles for my long run at a 10 min pace but decided to join a running group and do a 9 miler at a 9:30 pace.
2. Too aggressive a load: I went on vacation and ran this VERY hilly course 3 days in a row.
3. Adding too much “speed work”: I added 2 days of speed work into my schedule and I’ve never done it before.
How does this lead to injury? Really it comes down to tissue load tolerance. Our soft tissues and bones undergo quite a load each time we run and that’s fine, BUT when the load becomes too aggressive or excessive it can fail…and become injured. So build your mileage slowly, GRADUALLY add in more intense efforts and inclines/declines.
* We don’t spend enough time warming up. I know I know, it’s boring. BUT, think of it this way– Our soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints) need some time to get warm, get blood flow, and work out any stiffness they may have. If you don’t warm up, the tissues remain stiff and are more likely to become injured as the run progresses. Take the 2-3 minutes to warm up. Here is an example:
* You don’t take a recovery or step back week. “I hate recovery days!” “I’m gonna lose my fitness!” Believe me, I’ve heard it all and I can understand. Our nature is to think that recovery time is going to jeopardize all that hard work we’ve done. Actually the contrary is true. Recovery time not only helps you build fitness, it reduces your injury risk by giving your tissues a rest. So try working in a recovery day every 7-10 days or a recovery week every 2-3 weeks.
Charlie Boeyink MPT, OCS is owner of Cadence Physical Therapy and Performance Coaching in Glendale AZ.
If you have questions on running related injury, we’re here to help. Email Charlie@cadencept.net
Cadence Physical Therapy and Performance Coaching is a private physical therapy practice specializing in endurance athletes.