Here's what our clinic's strength and conditioning coach, Gordon Mowat's top tips to staying injury free and improving your performance when training for longer distance running events.
Running is one of the most accessible methods of improving fitness, all you need is a pair of trainers and a motive. It is made all the more simple with a growing number of easy to follow programmes, such as the NHS couch to 5k programme and countless mobile apps. With more people than ever entering running events and challenging themselves to complete a marathon, there is an increasing rate of injury occurrence, often due to a lack of physical preparation and improper running mechanics. There are several ways to improve running efficiency and speed whilst simultaneously reducing injury risk.
- Warm up properly! Most of us are guilty of skipping this part, or by throwing in a few token static quad stretches before going on our way. It’s important to remember that running places impact of several times our own bodyweight though our joints especially at higher speeds, and therefore requires some form of preparation. A structured warm up should include a pulse raiser which gradually increases body temperature and heart rate. Using dynamic stretches which take joints and muscle through a large range of motion will ensure that joints are lubricated and muscles are pliable. Making these dynamic stretches specific to running mechanics will also help to reinforce technique.
- Use good running technique. Some of the most common injuries reported by runners are related to joint problems, particularly around the knees, hips and ankles. Poor running technique can place strain through these joints and may lead to further issues long term. Taking the time to assess foot strike and where your foot lands on the ground in relation to your centre of mass can help manage over or under-striding.
- Build strength. The forces experienced when running vary from person to person depending on body weight, running technique and running speed. A lack of muscular strength will result in poor force transfer through the connective tissue and, over time, will result in injury. By building strength, running efficiency will increase due to the amount of force being placed into the ground on each stride.
How can we help?
You can book in to see Gordon at our clinic where he will analyse your movement quality and identify deficits or technical issues which may be causing problems or limiting your progress. Using our bespoke gym, we will put in place a strength programme to help address weaknesses and to build power output and force production. You can book in online to see Gordon here.
Have an injury at the moment?
Our chartered physiotherapists are experienced in rehabilitating sports injuries. They will help to diagnose injuries and their causes and will put a programme of support in place to help get you back onto your training programme.