Injury is likely something you have experienced or may experience during your training time. While our bodies can handle quite a bit of pouding and stress as your training progresses, the kicker is that often we get a little greedy. We start to feel the gains and keep pushing harder and harder and harder. Although this isn’t the only way we get injured, it is the most common. The stress/rest cycle gets out of balance and you push past the amount of rest that was necessary.
Prehab is the process of helping yourself stay away from preventable injuries by taking care of the weaknesses ahead of time and not allowing them to evolve into something that will stop you from running. Prehab is a tough sell as a coach, as it’s not as much fun as “running”, however once you get injured - you would almost do anything to go back in time and invest the 15 minutes per day on prevention!
Here are some of the things you can do to help you reduce the risk of injury and help keep you feeling good on a regular basis.
The easiest and most effective way to do this is to pay an expert. They can feel for knots in your body and work them out through a series of manipulations. The other alternative is to use foam rollers and massage sticks. You can pinpoint areas yourself and focus on these tight areas and ease them out yourself.
Think of your muscles as hair and the foam roller/massage therapist as a hairbrush. If you don’t brush your hair for a while, it will get knotted up and eventually break.
Everyone has different opinions on stretching. Most athletes don’t do it long enough to really notice if it will make a difference, as it takes 210 days for your muscles and tendons to adapt and for the flexibility to really kick in… it’s like endurance running - it takes a long time!
Start with a few active isolated stretches to help make your legs feel better before big efforts and after runs. This means stretching your muscles to their end range and holding for a couple of seconds and then loosening off and repeating.
Training your core doesn’t have to take long. Just make sure you’re constantly working on your back, abdominal, hip and glute strength to ensure you’re more fluid, efficient and also stronger and more durable.
Try to get into the habit of doing it right after your run. If you can get into a good routine of working on your core two to three times a week, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your risk of injury.
There are three typical areas that runners will experience soreness throughout their training. Bone, muscles or tendon soreness.
Bone - see a doctor. Achiness and soreness are two different things. Achiness is fairly normal but if you have soreness in your bones - you may want to get a scan to rule out a stress fracture or the start of one.
Muscle - it’s fairly normal to experience this as running volume increases. Soothing the muscles with massage, ice & epsom bath will help.
Tendon - the most common problem here is Achilles soreness. The world’s leading experts often say that rest is the best answer and that cross-training with biking, swimming etc… is a good alternative while the tendon heals. The initial 24hrs is key and icing and then using heat to bring more blood flow to the area, is often recommended. Tendons need blood flow to aid with healing, so contrasting between heat and cold can be good for the area. I recommend going to see a physio, chiro or massage therapist as soon as you notice soreness in any tendons to get a 2nd opinion and to ensure you don’t train through something minor that may quickly sideline your season. They will also be able to prescribe specific exercises, such as heel drops for achilles, which will aid in the healing process.
If anyone has any questions related to injuries or prevention - please let me know!