Jenny Blizard, physio and running expert speaking on behalf of everyday healthcare company Simplyhealth, comes across the same mistakes over and over again with runners and injuries. Here are her tips to keep you off the couch and out running
Take note of warning signs – Niggles are a common occurrence in running as your body continually adapts to the load. A recovery period allows your body to respond by increasing muscle mass and building stronger bones. A fine balance exists between too little and too much load. Niggles that are not going away are an early warning sign, so seek help or don’t be afraid to have an extra recovery day to get you back on track.
Don’t try hard to change your running style – Too many runners now are becoming injured trying to change quickly from a heel strike to a forefoot strike pattern. Your running style is what comes naturally to you and is wholly dependent on fitness and the postures you adopt outside of running and over the years from sitting, etc. Seek help to work on changing the underlying issues so you run better naturally and efficiently, not forced and inefficiently.
Listen to advice given by your physiotherapist – Sometimes it is not what you want to hear but it is what you need. Seek out a physiotherapist who is used to treating runners as it does make a big difference to the advice you are given, especially when it comes to the type of and amount of training to do if you’re injured.
Correct shoe size is critical – Get a shoe that fits your foot with, at least, a centimeter gap at the front, to allow your foot to swell, move naturally and your plantar fascia to work efficiently. This will prevent it from getting tight and painful.
Vitamin D – If you are indoors most of the day and either run early in the morning or in the evening, then it is likely that you will have low Vitamin D levels. Frequent muscle and joint pain, tiredness and low mood are all associated with low Vitamin D and can all be associated with an injury too! Ensure you get outdoors for a minimum of 15 minutes at lunchtime for a walk and have your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor if you’re ever in doubt.
Simplyhealth is title partner of the Great Run Series and is supporting runners every step of the way by helping people make the most of life through better everyday health. For more training advice, please visit www.greatrun.org/training-simplyhealth