Running is a great form of exercise. It gets you fit, is generally done outside and uses our whole body! However, many people who begin running often find themselves being sore a few weeks or even months later. Often the thought process of 'No pain no gain,' is used. However, when the soreness doesn't go away after a few weeks and the source of the pain is investigated it has often resulted in a stress fracture or a bone injury of some kind.
So how can this all be avoided?
1 - Keep track of your training load
In order to get fitter, we need to increase our training load and push ourselves. Generally we should be increasing our load over time mixed with periods of rest. However, if you increase your load too quickly you can put yourself at risk of an overuse injury. Keeping track of your training load so you can avoid spikes is a good way to reduce your risk of a stress fracture or bone stress injury.
2 - Overload with Volume Before Intensity
Bone is sensitive to changes in intensity. Whilst overtime we do want to gradually increase volume and intensity. Volume should be increased first before intensity. Studies have shown that the risk of bone fractures increases faster when intensity is increased before volume.
3 - Having adequate rest and recovery
Whilst you can run everyday, giving yourself adequate time to recover and rest is important. If you don't allow your body to rest and recover, you won't get fitter, but you also increase your risk of injury. Generally having a day off between runs is a good basic measure.
4 - Running Technique Analysis or Equipment Analysis
If you find you have stress related injuries, you may need to adapt or change your running technique. This can be done through film and then having it analysed by a professional who can give you cues to focus on. Other areas to look at may be your equipment, ensuring you have the right running shoes for the surface your running on can help you to reduce the risk of bone stress injuries.
5 - Take note of environmental changes
Running on flat grass compared to a hilly road is going to give your body a completely different load. This can result in greater or less intensity and volume. Just because you run less doesn't necessarily mean that your intensity is less. A 5km run on flat ground could be as strenuous as a 3km run up a hill. Therefore whilst your volume may be less, your intensity is the same. Keeping track of this can help reduce any spikes in intensity that may not be needed and result in a stress fracture.
If you are interested in starting running and need help to get a program set up, book in with one of our physio's to help get this set up for you!