With the number of people lacing up their shoes and getting out running continually on the increase, so is the number of running injuries. Three years ago, the available literature told us that up to 75% of runners will get a running related injury in every 12 month period. Today, that figure is now 85%!
If, like me, you think that figure is way too high and you want to know more about how you can lower your injury risk, read on…
Running injuries fall into two categories:
- Traumatic, one-off incidents such as falling off a curb or falling over on the trail.
- Progressive overloading that can happen over weeks, months or years.
Progressive overloading is the cause by far of the vast majority of running injuries. And the thing about it is that it sneaks up on you in stealth mode. What starts out as a niggle, an annoyance, something you ask your running buddies about and get a variety of advice on – slowly works away in the background. It weakens muscle, bone and connective tissue until one day it just gives way – snap! This is a classic overuse injury.
It could be a hamstring, Achilles, or other muscular or connective tissue injury. In some cases in can be a bone injury such as small fracture in your foot, ankle, shin, knee or hip. Often, you do get some pain but it commonly presents in a different area and this can confuse any self (or indeed professional) diagnosis should you seek it.
All this sounds pretty scary, and maybe that’s appropriate as Halloween is just around the corner. And at the rate runners get injured, chances are that every one of us has some overuse injury lurking around waiting for it’s chance to snap.
But, the good news is that most of these overuse injuries can be prevented. All those missed running hours, wasted race fees and hundreds of pounds spent on physios and rehabilitation could have been saved. But how?
Tolerance to injury
The only reason we get injured is that our muscles, bones and connective tissue cannot handle the load we are applying to it. In one-off traumatic incidents, excessive load is applied very quickly and our systems can’t react in time to reduce the impact. With overuse injuries, we aren’t providing the tissue with the correct ratio of load and recovery to allow it to adapt to the amount and frequency of loading we are expecting it to handle.
When we break it down like that, it sounds pretty simple. And the truth is – it is pretty simple. But simple isn’t the same as easy, and there are lots of ways we distort that ratio of load Vs recovery. Perhaps the one we all hear the most is “too much too soon”. What does that really mean?
Reading between the lines, you probably realise that to reduce your risk of injury you need your muscle, bone and connective tissue to be able to tolerate the loads you are subjecting it to. And this should be your mission as a runner. To keep enjoying your running you need to be more resilient.
It is certainly our mission. We care about you enjoying your running and we hate running injuries. That’s why we are on a quest to do what we can to reduce the rate of running injuries within the running community.
On a mission to reduce injury
For the past year this has been through our in-depth running analysis, personalised coaching and educational workshops.
Yes, you can find so much information online about running injuries and how to reduce your risk. But how do you know what’s good, effective information and what’s just regurgutated content for someone’s blog? Having said that, there are some amazing resources out there.
I would definitely encourage you to learn about tissue tolerance, prehab strategies and other ways of reducing injury – even if you are not that interested in injuries or think “it will never happen to me”. If you give it some thought, the less time you are injured means more time running which means better consistency which usually results in more PBs.
A good starting point is my blog, the main page is here.
I’ll keep adding to the exercises and info so that you can work on your own injury prevention plan.
If you want to experience a fun and interactive live session, then come along to my Resilient Runner Workshop. The whole aim is to help you reduce your injury risk and transform into the runner you want to be.