You May Need To Change The Way You Approach Running InjuriesMarch 20, 2018
Your body is an ever-adapting organism, and the body’s tissues get stronger or weaker depending on what you ask of them.
If you progressively increase your running distances through the season, your body’s tissues can adapt to the stresses placed on them. Have you ever considered that your mobility and maintenance routine should also be modified and progressed through the season? Variation and progressive loading is the key to a resilient body.
Pain is an important signal, don’t ignore it or mask it, instead learn what your pain is trying to communicate. What does the pain feel like? When does it happen? When did it start? All of these questions can give you a clue as to how the tissue is being damaged and the mechanism through which the damage is occurring. Going cold-turkey and resting an injury without knowing the cause is not the answer. More often than not, the painful parts of your body are the ones doing all the work. Remember, dysfunction does not mean pain. Understand that modifying how your body moves is the only way to resolve kinetic pain.
Passive stretching, like stretching your hamstrings, doesn’t provide much help when it comes to preventing injury. It may even be harmful in some instances. We must be asking the question: What is it about how you’re moving that is making your hamstrings so tight? We can all certainly benefit from adding yoga and mobility drills to our maintenance routines, but it’s not that simple. It’s vital to sequence muscle activation and stability in these activities as opposed to passively lengthening tissue without giving your muscles a strategy to stabilize.
Shoes and orthotics can be one way to effectively modify the stresses placed on the body during running. However, it must be remembered that variation in tissue stress is the key to a happy, healthy runner. Instead of finding the ‘perfect’ pair of shoes, find two or three different pairs of shoes and rotate them regularly through the week. If you wear orthotics, make sure you’re still doing plenty of exercises to keep the deep muscles of your feet strong and resilient.
So, what is the answer?
Ultimately, regular strength training, progressive running programming, efficient running techniques, and regular muscle activation drills. These in combination are the best way to keep your body resilient to the fitness stresses you place on it. Also, having your movement strategies assessed regularly may improve your running performance and provide you with a body maintenance routine unique to your individual needs.