Rob MacKenzie, a member of the PEI running community and Board Member of the Prince Edward Island Marathon, is writing a series of articles for The Guardian Newspaper on a variety of running related topics. Have a read through his articles for some up-beat motivation and funny stories to keep you on your toes, pun intended, as you prepare for your race at the upcoming BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon Race Weekend!
Monday September 22, 2014
Getting injured sucks. There is no other way to put it. It would be a lot easier for me to tell you what injuries I have not had rather than list all of the ones I have suffered. As a runner you have invested a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears into reaching the start line of the PEI Marathon on October 19. Statistically, numerous studies have shown that up to 50% of runners will get injured during one year of training. All is not lost, however, and you can lessen the risk of injury and speed recovery by following a few simple guidelines.
Full disclaimer: I am not a doctor, physical therapist, or medical practitioner of any sort, although, I have spent enough time at physio that I could probably operate an electrical stimulation machine. What I can tell you, is that most injuries can be traced back to a few common denominators:
- Trying to do too much too soon. If you go from couch potato to running multiple miles every day, chances are you are going to get hurt.
- Not taking rest and recovery days. When endurance training your body needs recovery days in order to heal and get stronger for the next training session.
- Today’s modern sedentary lifestyle (lots of sitting) wreaks havoc on good posture and creates all sorts of muscle imbalances that lead to injury.
What can you do about it? For that answer, I am going to defer to a professional: Colin Moore, owner and therapist at SportsCentre Physio in Charlottetown, has helped get many local runners back running after an injury. Here’s what he recommends:
- “Monitor your cadence. You should have180 (between 170 and 190) foot strikes a minute, that is three foot strikes a second. A faster cadence decreases stride length and ground reaction force. Cadence can be easily monitored with a free downloaded metronome app and you can arrange your playlist to include songs that have the proper beat to run to.”
- “Don’t run through pain. Almost every runner I see as a patient has had their pain for weeks and even months and they have been ignoring it. If you have pain, even low grade, in three or four successive runs you should get it assessed. It is a warning that something is wrong and worse things are to come. Addressing your pain early limits interference with your running (sometimes you can still train), decreases healing time and can often save your race. “
- “Foam roll and stretch. Exercise causes microtrauma to the muscles. You can help keep these muscles loose and joints functioning properly by foam rolling first and then stretching to maintain the muscles length. Be certain to target the glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.”
Last but not least, to ensure you continue to enjoy running on a long term basis, Moore recommends, ““Have a movement /running assessment. Over time people have injuries, become weak, develop stiffness and stop moving well. If you only run, you use your muscles in one direction and become strong moving forward, causing imbalances. If you get an assessment you will discover your individual weaknesses and be able to correct them, prevent injuries, and increase your running efficiency.”
If you do get injured, don’t hit the panic button. Several days to a week with no running (cross-train if possible) will not affect your fitness. If your injury knocks you out for more than a week than work with your medical professional/therapist on a revised goal to get you to the start line on PEI Marathon weekend – October 17-19.