Take care – don’t Injure yourself!

With the current dire situation regarding modern day life impacting everyone; and our desire to keep running, I thought I’d see if any club member, who is injured, would like to give us an update on their injury. We used to do this regularly when we produced our monthly newsletter a few years ago. It’s not compulsory – but I thought it would be good for our members to be aware of our fdellow members and know how frustrating it can be to on the side-lines not running, not meeting club members. It’s easy to become isolated and not feel part of the club.

Me? Well most, if not everyone knows, I am a wreck. Arthritis in the hip and suggestion that I need a new hip. However, trying to see if I can manage my pain with injections. The first injection gave me such relief for 3 weeks before I over-trained and wrecked all the other muscles in my right leg! Achilles, calf and hamstring!  I have recovered from that but have developed a problem standing on the right leg which has baffled the physios! Next injection is scheduled next week – but I am expecting a cancellation notice any day now because of the coronavirus situation! Still I will attempt to see how far I can run each day on my one exercise outing. Seasons Best so far, a few days ago, was 110 steps!!

Enough of me. I do think there are a few of our club members with injuries. If you email a status to me, I’ll collate them and publish a monthly article to keep us all abreast with (y)our situations.

Now for you non-injured runners who are doing your home keep fit and own training regime. Here are a few things to look out for to try and spot/prevent injury. There’s a good article on realbuzz.com but the 5 main points are:

1. Pain! Yes I know it is obvious. But be aware of muscle and tendon pain (strain), ligament pain (sprain) and joint pain (Ow!).

The symptoms: you feel are a reduction of movement through the area and surrounding structures. You will most likely experience pain when moving the injury site, and some bruising and/or swelling. With a strain or a sprain, the type of tear, location, and severity, will all influence recovery times. Best working with a physio to help get you back on track as quickly, and safely, as possible – when that’s available!!

2. Overtraining

Occurs when you have done too much and/or not allowed sufficient recovery times. It can manifest itself behaviourally, mentally and physically. There are lots of way this manifests but the main two are:

Calorie Deficiency – you all have an energy/calorie level that you need to reach each day to cover your daily needs. This goes beyond just general movement and being awake. It goes to a deeper level for tissue and cell repair, brain function and the endless tasks the human body performs. In terms of running performance, if you have a negative calorie intake you will not allow the muscles to recover and repair. This will lead to increases in muscle tissue breakdown then, ultimately, a reduction in performance levels and an increased risk of injury.

Repair Inefficiency – through the lack of repair that can be associated with over training, the micro tears in the muscles that occur during training can’t heal quickly enough before the next session. This will then promote further muscle tissue breakdown and injury risk. Your aim when training is to be in an anabolic state. Being in this state will maintain your body’s ability to repair, strengthen and perform more efficiently. The opposite of this is being in a catabolic state. When you are in this phase your stress hormones (cortisol) are too high. This will place too much strain on your nervous system and muscular system, which will lead to a consistent drop in performance and also your health. To stay clear of overtraining you want to promote an internal anabolic state.

To help prevent this you can:

  • Organise your training into specific days with adequate recovery time
  • Increase sleep if you’re not getting enough
  • be smart with your food intake
  • Eat healthily, and keep hydrated
  • avoid negative and stressful environments

3 Fatigue. Both physical and mental.

Physical relates to the muscular and nervous systems together. Fatigue can cause the transfer of signals between nerve synapses to become slower. This will then delay the activation and action of the working muscles.

  • Mental fatigue will affect you in these areas:
  • Decreased concentration
  • Decreased levels of consciousness
  • Slower reaction times
  • A general feeling of tiredness that isn’t the same as feeling sleepy

Fatigue affects people in different ways but can be alleviated through adequate rest and good nutrition and hydration. If you feel you have fatigue. Look at your training schedule, your recovery days, your sleep and eating. And adjust it accordingly.

4 Performance Degradation.

It’s obvious, but how many of us log and track our performances including training runs. It does help you to recognise improvements; but also whether we are being consistent or just getting worse. There are the obvious bad days we all have; but if it is showing a fall from where we should be then it’s worth considering our training/recovery/sleep and nutrition over those weeks before and during the slump! Be honest with yourself with your training demands and ensure you have  sufficient rest between training days. It maybe that you just need to alter the type of training that you have been doing to stimulate both mind and body!

5. Running style alterations

Have you just commenced changes to your style? Ideally, we all would like to:

  • Run on our forefoot
  • Have good posture in the upper body and optimal mobility of the hips and other working joints as well as multi directional core stability and strength
  • Strength and flexibility of our muscular system to deal with the demands of running and the correct activation and drive of the hamstrings and gluteal muscles to drive our legs

Too often we look for the quick fix when trying to correct an issue with our running technique. To correct

  • Landing on our heels
  • Driving from the quads and hip flexors
  • Landing heavy when our foot strikes the floor
  • A lumped over posture

These fixes might be short term and lead to problems in other areas. We should deal with structural imbalances through manual therapies, and strength training.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for all your good advice Patrick, much appreciated. Roy

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