Tag Archives: running injuries

Running 101: Injury Free Training

Every runner dreads injury.  Not only can it derail all of your recent training effort, it can be painful, uncomfortable and come with a potentially hefty medical bill.  The best way to keep logging miles without some sort of boo-boo or broken bone sidelining you is to use preventative care.  That can mean lots of things but here are Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to run injury free all year long.

Strength Train.  Strength training and cross training are extremely important elements of a training plan that helps you steer clear of injuries.  It will help you build muscle to support the pounding your body takes from running.  Strength training also makes you a more durable, injury resistant, athlete.  No matter what kind of strength training you choose make sure it’s something you like.  There are tons of options available out there from Crossfit to spin class so you’re guaranteed to find something fun.injury free

Listen.  Pay attention to what your body is telling you on a daily basis and you’ll be able to head off any injury before it happens.  Injury free running isn’t a dream.  It’s a reality if you’re able to pick up on what your body needs.  A day off?  An adjusted workout?  What about that massage you’ve been waiting for?  Stop waiting, rest up and tone it down.  No one know what your body needs better than you if you’re willing to listen to it.

Gear Check.  From chaffing to shin splints worn out, poorly fitted gear or improper gear can lead to disaster.  If you’re tackling trails, don’t wear your track spikes.  Be aware of training environment and dress appropriately.  Check in regularly with your clothing and especially your running shoes.  Crummy old shoes love creating problems from lack of support.  Stay injury free by having the right gear in the right condition.

Eat.  While every runner has different nutritional needs, eating is important.  Eating too much can lead to weight gain and numerous health issues while eating too little means your body can’t recover or build muscle like it wants to.  Poor nutritional habits can result in stress fractures, excess fatigue and bad workouts.  Consult a professional when designing your meal plan to make sure you’re taking in enough calories to stay injury free.

Coach Meredith

Running: Benefits of Shorter Steps

Taking shorter steps while running might sound counter intuitive.  For some people, it might actually be true.  For many others, especially a large percentage of recreational runners, shorter steps are the answer to many running form and injury issues.

Just about anyone who runs knows that ‘heel strike’ isn’t something you want to hear.  It has a really bad reputation that it doesn’t necessarily deserve.  It is, however, often equated with over striding.  Taking steps that are too big almost always results in heel striking while heel striking shorter stepson its own isn’t the horror you might have heard.  Shorter steps have several benefits over ones that are too big and here are four big ones:

Faster turnover:  Taking shorter steps means you’ll take more of them over the same distance.  That might sound like it also means more work, it actually means less.  If each step is shorter, your feet spend less time on the ground and less time on the ground means less time to get injured.  With your feet underneath you, you’ll also have forward momentum on your side and be able to use gravity to help you move along.

Stop stopping:  Landing with your foot out in front of you is the same as putting on the breaks.  shorter stepsReally.  It’s the same thing your dog does when they don’t want to go.  Put their center of gravity behind their feet, throw those paws forward and say ‘nope’.  Keeping your feet underneath you with faster turnover will keep your body moving forward with less effort.

Happy muscles.  When we kick that leg out in front during over striding, our quadriceps are doing the bulk of the work.  That muscle does not want to do that.  Ever tried to walk down stair after a marathon?  Yup.  It’s not fun.  Shorter steps fire up powerhouse glutes and hamstrings for happier running muscles.

Reduce injury risk:  Faster turnover, no braking and happy muscles mean a lower risk of injury.  You’ll get to use the elasticity of your Achilles, foot arch and calf to absorb the impact of each step rather than the bones and joints that hit when you over stride.  Once muscles are doing the work, instead of bones, risk for any number of injuries can decrease.  IT Band issues, knee pain, hip pain, ankle issues and general body soreness can all decline with proper stride length.

The best way to determine if you’re running with an appropriate stride length is to have a professional gait analysis.  A quality running coach will let you know if shorter steps can help you earn better form and faster times.

Coach Meredith

Running Injury: ITBS

One of the most common injuries for runners is Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  Known as ITBS, it is experienced by both new and experienced runners.  A preventable and treatable injury, read on to learn more about ITBS.

What:  The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs from the hip to the shin on the outside of each thigh.  It works to both stabilize and move the knee joint.  ITBS occurs when this band is inflamed or tight and leads to pain. ITBS

Causes:  ITBS is most often caused by a sudden increase in work load for the knee.  Other potential sources are a change in terrain or a lack of recovery time.  It can also result from running in worn out shoes, on banked surfaces, turning only in one direction or faulty running mechanics.

Symptoms:  Pain and swelling on the outside of the knee are the result of an inflamed IT Band.  The pain can also radiate up the outside of your thigh along the length of the IT band.  If you bend your knee to 45 degrees and have pain on the outside, it’s ITBS.

Treatments:  Rest, foam rolling and low impact cross training like swimming are good ways to avoid further irritation of the IT band.  Ice, heat and anti-infalmmatories are also treatment options.  While all of these will treat the symptoms of ITBS, it’s important to address the cause of your injury during treatment and recovery phases.

Recovery:  ITBS often results from poor running mechanics that allow the knee to rotate inward on landing.  Strengthening glutes, working towards a soft foot strike and increasing mobility through both hip extension and flexion are the best ways to treat and prevent this injury.  Work with a qualified coach or physical therapist to determine what caused your injury.  Rest and heal it then strengthen and mobilize to prevent it from happening again.

Coach Meredith

Running Injuries: Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common injury.  Seen most often in new runners, they can be painful but typically come with a shorter recovery time than the dreaded stress fracture.  Here’s how to identify your shin splints, treat them and avoid getting them again.shin splints

What are shin splints:  They are the common name for a medial condition officially known as medial tibial stress syndrome.  A shin splint causes pain along the bone at the front of the lower leg, the tibia, and is most frequently seen in new runners or those increasing mileage.

What causes them?  Shin splints are the result of inflammation of the muscles, tissues and tendons surrounding the tibia.  This inflammation most often comes from a sudden change in training routines.  It can also be caused by worn out shoes, another injury, weak hips or a lack of core stability.

Symptoms:  Tenderness and soreness along the length of the tibia as well as possible swelling are red flags.  Sometimes pain will disappear with activity but it will eventually become constant.  If you reach the point of constant pain, be sure to rule out the more serious stress fracture by getting an x-ray.

Treatment Options:  Shin splints are best treated by slowing things down.  Decrease mileage or try water running.  Lower impact activities are a must until the inflammation goes away.  Anti-inflammatories, ice and heat are additional options.  This is also a good time to make sure you have a quality shoe that offers the support you need and isn’t worn out.

Recovery:  The most important part of recovery is to figure out what caused your injury.  Treat the source of the shin splints, not just the symptom.  Have a gait analysis.  Strengthen weak areas like hips and core muscles.  Ease back into activity, coming back from this injury slowly.  Too much, too soon will inevitably lead to reinjury.

Coach Meredith