Running is a fantastic way to keep fit, train for other sports, and compete. The need for minimal equipment and resources makes running one of the most accessible and popular forms of exercise on the planet. This ease of access is of course a good thing. It does mean however that many run unaware of the inevitable. Setbacks due to frustrating aches and pains. Once present, running associated injuries are tricky. Difficult to get rid of and keep at arm’s length. The inevitable is only so if simple prevention measures are not taken. Injury prevention can and should be simple:
a) Correct and optimise gait (technique/form)
Your running ‘gait’ is simply the way your body moves through the cyclic action of running. Optimising it means ensuring step length is good, joints are well-aligned, muscles are active and effort is not wasted. This requires expert gait analysis and subsequent training.
b) Include simple strengthening/stability exercises
Strength/stability for running does not depend on how ‘strong’ your muscles are. Rather, the way your muscles work together to keep you stable, prevent undesirable movement, and support your joints adequately. Basic exercises can get you started. A professionally planned training programme will ensure you progress and improve quickly.
Ever get excessively tight/sore calves? Your foot strike may be to blame.
Knees sore after long runs? Your neuromuscular coordination could be off.
IT bands feel like guitar strings? Your hip stability is probably poor.
Gait Analysis gives you the answers and prompts for change immediately
All three examples above are completely avoidable through optimisation of running gait and strengthening of movement. Consider this:
A weak foundation causes a building to lean and warp with time. Correct the fault and strengthen the joins, and the structure can realign to become a solid, durable structure.
A weak running gait causes the body to lean and warp with time. Correct the fault and strengthen the joints, and the body can realign to become a solid, durable body.
DO try this at home. Example running strength/stability exercise to try:
Single Leg Chair Squat
1) Stand in front of a chair, slowly sit and stand, no hands.
2) Now stand on one leg and do the exact same thing.
3) Repeat but now only TOUCH the chair, don’t put all your weight on it.
This is a very basic example of a single leg stability exercise. Have a go at 2-3 sets of 10 reps of the single leg version. Try including this in your routine 2-3 times per week. The aim is to keep the movement slow and controlled with your shoulders high.
Get it RIGHT with Pyramid Performance & Health
At Pyramid Performance & Health we have extensive experience working with runners and triathletes on specifically injury prevention through our Gait Analysis service and Training programmes.
Director of Performance & Health, Ryan Spencer, has worked with IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in Houston, USA, and developed highly successful injury prevention methods.
by Ryan Spencer, Director of Performance & Health