Since COVID-19 times in 2020 where we saw a lot of closure of gyms and other sporting activities, we have seen a huge growth in recreational running. With this we have certainly noticed common trends in running related injuries in the clinic. Here’s our top tips for preventing running injuries.

Progress Your Total Running Volume Gradually

A common flaw with new runners is making huge exponential increases in their running volume week on week, only to suffer an inevitable injury at some stage.

The 10% rule is often used in running when it comes to load progression. Anywhere from 10-15% increase of running load each week is a good place to start with progressing your running, depending on a variety of factors. 

If increasing by 25% or more a week your body may struggle to appropriately adapt to the load increasing your risk of injury.

Taking appropriate rest between runs is also an important part of not overdoing your volume. Starting with 2-3 runs spread out over the week is a good place to start for many new runners.

Fix Your Running Technique

While this is a complex topic worthy of its own blog, we wanted to touch on the most common running technique issues that can be addressed relatively easily.

Over-striding –  essentially striding too much with your forwards foot landing much further than needed. Consider increasing your cadence or the number of steps taken per minute. This decreases the amount of load absorbed by the shins and can help to prevent shin splints or similar injuries.

Hip/Pelvic Drop – this occurs when one side of the body can’t provide enough stability during the stance phase of gait. It may cause an increase of pressure through your knee, hip or lower back. Specific running gait as well as hip and glute strengthening can help to address this issue.

Running too upright – beginner runners often attempt to ‘stand tall’ particularly when transitioning to running from weight training or other sports. Running in too much extension (upright position) can put a lot of strain on the lower back and make it harder to properly recruit your glutes and hips whilst running. A slight forwards lean coming from the hips will put your lower back and hips in a much more optimal position for running and help reduce injuries. 

Preventing Running Injuries

Choosing Appropriate Running Footwear

A good pair of running shoes suited to your foot is an important part of keeping on top of running related injuries. Understanding your natural foot type and needs from footwear is key to choosing the correct shoe.

Here are some great running shoe options for a beginner:

  • Brooks Adrenaline 
  • New Balance 1080
  • HOKA ONE ONE Clifton
  • Asics Gel-Nimbus
Preventing Running Injuries

Strength Training for Injury Prevention

Strength training for running injury prevention is often overlooked. Even just one or two dedicated lower body strength sessions in the gym can make a huge difference to decreasing running injuries.

Increasing your lower body strength means that the muscles and tendons supporting your hips, knees and ankles will have much greater capacity to both absorb and tolerate load placed upon them as well as generate and output force.

Here are some of our top strength training exercises for runners:

  • Barbell back squats
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Single leg lunges – both forwards and back stepping
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Barbell hip thrusts
  • Leg extensions and leg curls
  • Calf raises – both knee straight and knee bent varieties 
  • Shin (tibialis anterior) raises

Recover Well and Watch Your Lifestyle

Overall lifestyle and recovery factors have a huge impact on all injuries including running related niggles.

Eating a balanced diet with sufficient protein to fuel muscle recovery and growth and carbohydrates to fuel your activity is hugely important. Hydrate appropriately including electrolytes especially through the warmer months.

Prioritizing sleep and recovery ideally getting between 7-9 hours of quality rest each night will help your body recover and adapt to the training load. Managing overall lifestyle stress has also been shown to help reduce training and exercise related injuries.

Early Assessment and Management is Key

We believe that prevention and failing that early assessment and intervention is key to preventing running injuries. 

Our team understands the needs of active individuals including runners, whether you are just starting your running journey or training for your next half or full marathon. We pride ourselves on sports specific treatment and rehabilitation and will endeavour to keep you running and progressing pain-free.

Get in touch with our team at Fortitude Chiropractic on (08) 6184 8835 or book online today to find out how to stay on top of your running niggles.

Preventing Running Injuries