Avoiding injury and what to do if injury occurs


Hopefully you are enjoying the summer and looking forward to your next challenge. If you haven't had an injury during your running career, you have done exceptionally well! Most running injuries are over-use injuries, in that they develop over time.

The other type of injury is an impact injury. Team players are more susceptible to these as they are more likely to be knocked or to fall but runners sometimes 'come a cropper' and sustain an impact injury if, for example, they put their foot into a hole or divet whilst out running, trip over a kerb or other obstacle or land awkwardly whilst dropping off a style or pavement.

Some typical running injuries include:
Strains - an injury to a muscle or tendon often caused by twisting or pulling

Sprains - an injury to a ligament often caused by stretching or twisting

Sore muscles, especially lower leg

Very tight feeling muscles

Pain along the front of the shin, in the achilles tendon area, under the arch of the foot, around the knee

These injuries are usually soft tissue injuries that can be treated and can mend quickly but it is better not to succumb to them in the first place so let's look at why they occur.

There are a number of reasons and here are just a few of them:

Poor footwear

Poor running style

Too much too soon

Not strong enough for the demands of the activity 

Not enough rest between efforts; sessions or even a weeks training.

Muscle imbalance or weakness

Training errors!

The crucial thing to remember is that all of the above can be fixed. Here are our top tips on avoiding injury:

Buy your shoes from a running specialist who can check your old ones and give advice on the best shoes for your running style and level

Improve running style and posture by including BCAs and running drills

Work on one thing at a time - use our Training Wizard to help plan your programme. Spend 6 - 8 weeks working with one focus: building aerobic base, building strength endurance, building speed endurance or improving running economy

Keep a diary of how much training you are doing

Vary your sessions to address all fitness elements

Keep intense sessions short and develop progressively

Maintain or improve flexibility   by including it in your cool down and cross training with yoga or pilates

Get feedback from a running coach or leader

Prevention is better than cure but most runners do experience injury at some time so here is some advice to follow if you are unlucky and find yourself with a soft tissue injury. In the first 72 hours:

  • •R est
  • •I ce about 10 mins in any hour (use a dry plastic bag next to skin)
  • •C omfortable support
  • •E levation

If pain worsens on running or affects your style stop and apply RICE (as per above)  for 72 hours.

If the injury persists make an appointment with your local physiotherapist for treatment.