Running is an activity enjoyed by many people for either sport, exercise, or recreation. It provides health benefits such as lower resting heart rate, blood lipids, and body fat percentage, as well as higher HDL (good cholesterol)1. It also provides a chance for socialization and stress relief. The cost to participate is low since it requires little-to-no equipment or coaching to enjoy. Unfortunately, that is where the rub comes, sometimes literally. Studies on injury rates among runners tell us that up to 85% of people who run will become injured2! So what can you do to help protect yourself from injury while enjoying the benefits of running? Here are some tips:
1. Avoid the “too much, too soon” mistake. This is a common mistake and made by runners at every level. You find a race that you want to run and fail to plan out the training required to get there. As time gets close, you push yourself to get the distance, overloading your body, and end up hurting or injured. It has been recommended that weekly running distance should be increased by no more than 10% per week3. If you are just beginning to run, or want to train for a race, following a reliable training plan is a great way to make sure you give your body the time to adjust to the stresses of running and so help prevent injury. There are many good programs online to train for races of every length. One popular plan, the “couch to 5k” plan found here: http://www.coolrunning.com/cgi-bin/moxiebin/bm_tools.cgi?print=181;s=2_3;site=1 is a great starting point.
2. Pay attention to your body. Notice the way you feel when you run…lopsided? Awkward? Does anything hurt or feel uncomfortable? Notice the way you feel after you run also…does anything hurt? How long does it last? Are you sore or fatigued the next day? These can be signs that you need to slow down, take a break, or get checked out by a healthcare professional or running coach.
3. Have your running evaluated. Sure, there are TONS of articles and tips for running form online, but until you see yourself run you can have no idea if your form is putting you at risk. A running coach or physical therapist trained in running evaluations can perform a video analysis of your running and help you modify your form to prevent injury.
Another benefit to running is that it has no age limit. You can run until you are 110 if you do it properly and protect your body. Studies show that one of the biggest risk factors for getting a running injury is already having a running injury. Therefore, if you don’t currently have pain or an injury, now is the best time to put these tips into practice so that you can continue to run pain-free! See you on the road/beach/trail!
If you are suffering from any kind of pain during running or in general, give us a call today at 488-5555! OSR in Kailua offers you an integrated healthcare approach to pain relief and healing. Our doctors and therapists are here to help get you pain free!
Hespanhol LC, Pillay JD, van Mechelen W, Verhagen E. Meta-analysis of the effects of habitual running on indices of health in physically inactive adults. Sports Medicine. October 2015;45(10):1455-1468.
Nielson RO, Buist I, Sorensen H, Lind M, Rasmussen S. Training errors and running related injuries: a systematic review. IJSPT. February 2012;7(1):58-75.
Johnston CA, Taunton JE, Llyd-smith DR, McKenzie DE. Preventing running injuries. Practical approach for family doctors. Canadian Family Physician. 2003;49:1101-1109.