For a lot of people, the melting of snow and ice is synonymous with the return of the running season. At last, this beautiful sport is back!
Other people will simply trade their lined running shoes or winter shoes with cleats for lighter summer models, or switch from treadmill workouts to outdoor circuits. Most of us will also change running shoes for the new season.
All these transitions present a potential risk of injury considering the repetitive aspect of the running gait and the notion of impact with the ground.
Here are some tips to prevent running injuries:
1. Increase progressively: at the turn of the season, get started with interval training and try not to exceed 10% in volume increase per week;
2. Run often: even if it increases the total amount of stress put on the joints involved, going on 4 to 6 outings per week allows the body to adapt and get stronger. So, if you’re used to running 2-3 times a week, try adding 2 more runs, even if they are very short, and you will see your risk of injury decrease;
3. Take small steps: reducing your stride and increasing your pace to 170-180 steps per minute decreases the impact force and the injuries it can cause. Note that increasing your pace doesn’t necessarily mean going faster;
4. Occasionally, vary the surfaces and types of workouts: this avoids constantly repeating the same movement in the same range of motion and, thus, reduces the risk of overuse injuries;
5. Pay attention to your shoes: we could discuss this at great lengths, but the main thing to remember is to choose shoes that are consistent with your running habits and your history of injuries. A long-time runner with no history of specific injuries should not undertake a change. However, for someone wanting to improve performance or struggling with some common running injuries, a very cautious and gradual transition to a minimalist type of shoe would be recommended.
In short, since the biomechanics of the running gait is complex, it is better to prioritize the dosage of the quantification of mechanical stress to enjoy your season in good health! Don’t forget to listen to your body during your workouts and don’t hesitate to consult a physiotherapist as soon as there are warning signs of an injury.
Physiotherapist and owner
Action Sport Physio Laval West