Updated: Jan 18
Injury is a part of any sport . And pain is actually protective . Pain actually tells you that that part of our body needs some TLC.
Hi, I’m Dr. Shwetha Rao Warke and I am a physiotherapist and a marathon runner.
Today I’m going to share with you the three mantras/rituals towards injury free running.
When I say mantras or rituals there is no religious connotation to it but what it means is that if you practice these steps regularly you will be on your road to being an efficient runner.
The first and foremost is -
Form and technique
We all look at a runner who zooms past us and say oh wow he is almost flying or someone else who runs with effortless ease.
What happens with marathon running is that as soon as you are able to run reasonably long the focus from form and technique quickly shifts to speed timing distance and personal bests.
Research suggests that almost 80% of running injuries are because of improper technique.
So once in a while get your running form analyzed, if you don’t have access to a running analysis lab .. you have one right on your fingertips.
Everyone has a smartphone with a slow-mo feature on their camera, has a running buddy capture your run from the front, back and sideways. Share these videos with your coach or physio you will get to see if there is any form or technique deviation that may be the cause of your injury.
Most common running injury patters are
Running specific strength training.
Often most runners aspire to run longer and faster and expect and believe that its only through running more they can get to it .
Well, there is a more scientific way of approaching this, I’m sure you all know that running a single-leg sport . This means that at some point of your running (stance phase )your entire body weight is on one leg and then depending on uphill or downhill your body weight and speed,the weight on the leg can go up to 2.5-3 times the body weight.
Many a times I see runners skipping strength sessions or limiting their strength training to ankle weights or resistance bands .. which are good conditioning exercises but not strengthening.
To build this strength doing single leg strength work like single-leg rdl , single-leg squats .Calf raises glute bridges combined with running abc drills plus plyometric drills like skips and drop jumps , improve the shock absorbing capacity and tensile forces of your tendons and muscles .
Rest and Recovery
The most common reason of injuries , I read this quote by this physio called running physio .
running injury is like a hangover, usually caused by too much , too quick and too little rest and as soon as we feel better we do it all over again .
The only workout you are benefiting from is the one you are recovering from .
Having a restful sleep, hydrating your body, taking cold showers or going for a swim, involving full body recovery stretches, yoga breathing techniques, helps your body to rest reboot and recharge.
Respect your rest day, an easy way to know if you are ready for the next days' workout is to check your pulse the moment you wake up in the morning . Eg if my resting heart rate is 65-70 and when I wake up my pulse is 85-90 means I have probably not rested enough . Its ok to skip training that day .
The other way of knowing how exhausted you are is by using the RPE scale .its a scale for rate of perceived exertion mark on that scale how hard was your training.
At the end of the week average it out .. if your average is tipping towards very hard workouts maybe you need to take it easy. If upper week was moderately hard .. you can amp it up.
Remember an injury doe not happen in a day … it starts building up from day one of training.
So listen to your body for these subtle signs of aches and pains, never skip your warm-ups, don’t rush through coo, down stretches. Foam roll your body, take deep tissue massages ..it when you feel the pressure you realise the muscles that are getting tight or are weak .
Train Smart Not Hard
Less is more !!
And enjoy your run