You’ve Started to Run annnnnnd… Is That an Injury You Feel?
If you’ve been running for a while, you may be experiencing some new twinges or aches and pains. Don’t worry, that happens to runners of all levels.
Here are some common injuries that can dampen your road to getting some miles in:
IT Band Syndrome — this pain runs down the outside of your upper leg and sometimes radiates into the actual knee
Plantar Fasciitis — this soreness in your heel can feel worse in the mornings
Runner’s Knee — the front of the knee is the sport for this ailment, especially when going down steps
Shin Splints— this hurts, well, on your shins and can feel like a dull ache, it’s generally along the length of the bone
How do you know when to just throw some ice on those hurt parts and keep running, take some time off, or go see a professional? Well, local Chiropractor Dr. Clay Sankey IS a professional, so we asked him:
When does a nagging injury cross the line to deserving rest?
Dr. Sankey: If something causes you to alter the way you run and/or leads to pain at rest you need to dial it back. It may be appropriate to “run through” certain injuries as long as the pain is minimal, but some injuries require complete rest. Let a medical professional make that call for you!
What is the deciding factor for seeing a professional?
Dr. Sankey: Routine muscle soreness is to be expected, but pain isn’t something you should attempt to manage on your own.
What advice would you give new runners to avoid these injuries?
Dr. Sankey: Most running injuries occur because the stress you’re putting on your body exceeds your body’s ability to handle that stress. The best way to improve as a runner and reduce the risk of injury is to allow for proper recovery. Strength training is also something most runners do not do enough. Strength training improves muscle metabolism, bone density, and motor control, all of which can have carryover into running performance.
So, what to do?
Simple: listen to your body. Don’t ignore nagging pains and always err on the side of caution– a day off isn’t going to completely wreck your running plan and may help you feel better. If it does, maybe a few days off is all you need. You can always cross-train: riding a stationary bike is a great option.
Add miles slowly. A good rule of thumb is to add no more than 10% of your weekly total: so, if you’re running 15 miles a week, don’t add more than 1.5 miles a week, even if you’re feeling great. It’s tempting, we know, but don’t do it.
The goal is always to be able to run for a long time — as in you want to be able to continue doing this mode of exercise for years. Starting out slowly and consistently and taking care of yourself is the best way to do this!
Lisa trains both new and experienced runners. For information on her and her philosophy, check out www.forwardmotion.com