It is officially spring and that means the beginning of race season for runners in Calgary. There are events every weekend over the next several months which means runners have been ramping up their training with increasing mileage and intensity. Following a well thought out training plan is important to get you across the finish line but that doesn’t just mean more pounding the pavement. To have your best running season, you need to consider some injury prevention strategies.
Strength training has been found to reduce the incidence of over-use running related injuries such as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, shin splints and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (runner’s knee) Adding in a few specific core and lower extremity exercises 2-3x per week will allow you to improve or maintain proper mechanics while you run. Incorporating a few minutes of daily foam rolling will help by reducing the formation of adhesions and increasing the blood flow to the tissue. Also, stretching or yoga will help you to maintain range of motion that is required to move through a normal gait pattern. Holding poses in yoga challenges your balance that can improve foot strength and proprioception both of which are particularly important for trail runners.
When it comes to shoes, a recent study recommended using at least two different pairs of running shoes for training to reduce your incidence of injury. Different shoes cause your foot muscles to work in different ways. It also allows the properties in the shoe to recover from compression of the foam or letting the upper dry out after a wet run.
There is nothing more disappointing than putting in months of training only to sit out on race day because of an injury. An overuse running related injury is described as an injury that causes you to reduce frequency, speed, distance or duration for more than one week. Research estimates between 50-70% of runners will sustain an overuse injury each year. The best predictor of getting injured is having a previous injury. By incorporating some strength training, stretching and/ or foam rolling as well as changing up your shoes can help you to beat the statistics. If you notice discomfort or pain that is holding you back for more than a few runs, connect with me so I can help you crush your next race.