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Guest Blog: Running Â- Getting to the start line Injury Free

TriBlogsby TriBlogsJul 18th 2013
This month the experts at Six Physio have written a series of Guest Blogs with advice for triathletes on staying injury free this season. With specialist physios in all three triathlon disciplines, read on for the first in this series of blogs focusing on injury prevention tips for Running.
Guest Blog: Running – Getting to the start line Injury Free
My name is Sarah Le Good, I qualified as a physiotherapist in 2004 from the University of Southampton. I am currently working at Six Physio, Fleet Street, as a rehab physiotherapist specialising in Pilates and running assessments. I have always been a keen runner doing anything from 5kms to marathons and more recently competing in triathlons.

Running Â- Getting to the start line Injury Free

I have been lucky enough to make it to all my major races and triathlons without injury, but as a physiotherapist I know this isnÂ't always the case and I see many people with running related injuries whilst in training.

In triathlons people can get away with a slight injury in the swimming and cycling, but pain while running can cause you to have to pull out of a race. If you canÂ't run, then all those miles on the bike and swims in the cold lake can feel like they are wasted!

In my experience there are a number of different principles which can be followed to hopefully get you to the start line injury free and prolong your running life. Running injuries can be caused by many different things: poor biomechanics and technique, overtraining, poor core stability and conditioning and by ignoring those niggles.

1) Biomechanics and technique

One of the biggest causes of running related injuries comes from poor technique and is one of the main reasons why people present to us at Six Physio.

Over striding with a heavy heel strike is likely to overload the knee, hip and lumbar spine and this can leads to common running injuries, such as shin splints, anterior knee pain and plantar fasciitis.

By shortening your stride and trying to land more on your mid-foot, while keeping your centre of gravity over your foot as it lands will enable your muscles and tendons to absorb shock much affectively and therefore reduce risk of injury. Running assessments can be vital in making sure you make these changes correctly and at Six Physio we have had many runners who, by having an assessment, have had great success improving their technique and ultimately boosting their performance.

2) Overtraining

EveryoneÂ's limits are different, but training should be consistent and not too intense as to cause damage that affects training the next day. It is important to remember to slowly build up the distance, follow a set training plan which increases the miles each week. Injuries happen when you run too far too soon, jumping up to a 10 mile run when you have only ever done 5 just isnÂ't going to work. The body needs time to adapt to the demands you are putting on it by increasing mileage and intensity gradually. The general rule is to increase your mileage by 10% each week.
The body does need time to recover Â- If you go out running hard every day, each time increasing distance, you will find the muscles cannot take the demands which you are asking for and sooner or later an injury will happen.

3) Poor core stability and conditioning

Core stability and strength training is important. Stronger muscles can generate more force and speed and therefore cope better with the training demands. You can run for longer before your muscles fatigue. Core stability will encourage good alignment and control which will help with good running technique. For example working on squats, single leg squats, lunges and bridging will help with this. I find going to regular Pilates sessions is a great way of maintaining your core. Many runners and triathletes come to Pilates for rehab following an injury, but get addicted once their pain has been resolved and find it a great way to maintain strength and flexibility. It can really help prevent further injury and also improve a runnersÂ' performance.

4) Running through those niggles

If you do have a niggle, the most important thing is not to run through the pain. Most painÂ's donÂ't just Â'occurÂ' as there is often an underlying source, cause or driver for the pain. Pain is the bodyÂ's way of telling you something is not quite right. Often in the last few weeks of a training plan, before a big race, is when niggles start to occur. If you want to make it to that start line, donÂ't keep running. Seek advice, give your body a rest or substitute the run with a swim or cycle. You are far more likely to get to the start line pain free if you havenÂ't been irritating it for the week before.

For more information about Six Physio and their physiotherapy services visit their website
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