Thursday, 12 May 2016

Spring into action with a steady pace. Guest blog on returning to running

Once the snow and ice disappeared from Val d’Isere village there was a great increase in the number of people out running. It really brought a different sort of energy to Val d’Isere. This started me thinking about how many people are keeping an eye on their weekly mileage. Overuse injuries are extremely common in runners and most common in the first year of running. Although biomechanical issues can play a role in these injuries more often than not it can be due to a sudden increase in demands on the person’s soft tissues.

Commonly in clinic we see people who are very fit cardiovascularly, but took the winter off running. They kept their fitness up through cycling, swimming or skiing so when they returned to running they could keep going for miles without fatigue. The next day or the day after is when they may feel the strain in the soft tissues or joints that are used in a specific way in running. If these tissues do not get enough time to recover this can lead to overuse injuries. So, here are a couple of top tips that can get you back running this spring and keeping you running through the summer.

Start off steady… running is an impact sport that needs your legs to spring repeatedly more than a thousand times per mile. If you haven’t done any of this over the season then a walk run or beginner/intermediate 5km training programme could be the right place to start. There are lots of great plans I have used in the past but here are two I’ve found most useful: Bupa training plans and nike+ running app.

The 10% rule… There is no strong evidence about the exact amount you should increase per week but a very good guideline which is helpful is the 10% rule. If you run 9 miles per week, the next week you could add just under a mile. This could be broken into 2 x 3 miles and 2 x 2 miles depending on how you feel.

Review your progress… If you’re following a training programme and after one week you feel like the mileage/intensity is too much, either go back a week or stay at the same week. Don’t move onto the next week until you feel ready. Generally muscle soreness or mild joint ache can be normal if it dissipates in 24 hours. However, pain that changes your stride, gets worse as you run or keeps you awake at night is not ok and a sign you should consult your GP or Physiotherapist for advice.

Walk run or cross train… If you know 2­-3 miles is your capacity but want more exercise, add in some walks at a brisk pace. This can burn just as many calories and get your heart working out just as much as a jog. The added benefits are that you are still loading those leg muscles. If you know that two days of running per week is enough for your body, then instead of doing an interval run session do an interval bike, row or crosstrainer.

Keep strong... Whilst running it is really the muscles that have to absorb the impact of about 750 steps per foot per mile. To do this effectively you have to be strong. A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that strengthening 2­-3 times per week reduced risk of overuse injury to ½ while stretching did not show the same benefit.

Thanks to our fantastic guest blogger Gemma.  Gemma can be found working at Physio 4 All in London.
Gemma Gillen, Physiotherapist


The purpose of this blog, is to provide general information and educational material relating to physiotherapy and injury management. Bonne Santé physiotherapy has made every effort to provide you with correct, up-to-date information. In using this blog, you agree that information is provided 'as is, as available', without warranty and that you use the information at your own risk. We recommend that you seek advise from a fitness or healthcare professional if you require further advice relating to exercise or medical issues.

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