Running has been surging in popularity in recent years. However, because running involves repetitive movements with ground impacts, injuries are common. Here are some basic considerations to keep in mind to prevent running injuries.
Regardless of the body part (muscle, tendon, etc.), pain is a warning sign perceived and interpreted by your brain. When there is an injury, tissue receptors send an electric signal to the brain via your nerve network. When pain persists for several weeks, the electric signal is sent regularly, which makes your nervous system hypersensitive.
Conclusion: When you experience persistent pain, you should slow down or temporarily stop running because your body is suffering.
Before heading out for a run, you should warm up, which wakes up your muscles, lubricates your joints, raises your heart rate and increases your body temperature. Progressive jogging, ballistic stretching and attention to the four stages of running are recommended.
Static stretching, i.e. stretches that you hold for several seconds, should be avoided before running. It has been demonstrated that it does not reduce the risk of injury or aches. Some studies suggest that static stretching before a run can create micro-tears in the muscles that predispose runners to more serious injuries. Static stretching should be done outside of activity, ideally on days when you are not training.
Another key principle is progression. To avoid injuries, do not overdo it. Instead, do enough to stimulate the cardiovascular system and muscle, tendon and bone tissue so they adapt and get stronger. It is recommended that you run 4 to 6 days a week and increase the running volume by no more than 10% each week. Pain is still the best warning bell to help you recognize your limits, but be careful because body aches and pains often appear 24 to 48 hours after a run.
Many muscles are used to run and it is important to do specific exercises for strength and endurance. Such strengthening improves performance and biomechanics in addition to reducing fatigue, which prevents injuries. The major muscle groups you should work are the core, the muscles on the bottom of your feet, calves, thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings) and glutes.
If an injury occurs in spite of these recommendations, do not hesitate to consult with one of our physical therapists.