* 75% of runners suffer an injury in their first year due to muscular/skeletal weakness & imbalances
* 50-75% of all running injuries are due to over use (too many miles) and going too fast, thus using the same muscles over and over again
* 70-80% of all running injuries are located from the knee down
* 95% of all running injuries are related to the shoe; lack of cushion, stability, and an incorrect last.
Think: 1500 foot strikes in a mile at least!)
* More runners than walkers will miss about 10% or more of their workouts due to injury
* Both walkers and runners can subtract over 90% of their injuries if they prepare their body strength wise, wear the correct shoe, practice a stretching regimen along with roller massage, self-massage,
and/or a deep tissue massage
Ouch, and why am I getting injured?
My comment: you are already injured before the real pain begins generally due to a muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalances occur simply because we are not anatomically built perfect; a cause of many impact injuries. Promote muscular balance by implementing a gradual mileage buildup, plus strength and flexibility training specific to the walking and running movement.
* It begins with the shoe; the lighter the shoe, the more impact on the muscles and joints; and
If you do not have an injury yet, you will. In the 80’s we all went through racing flats (called minimalists now) Most of us had “ball of the foot” neuromas and the guys suffered from Achilles tendonitis; while us women suffered from hamstring injuries.
* Your body must become strong SPECIFIC to the movement. I took Karate for over 4 years in my 20’s, and while that was not running specific, the arm lunges and various leg work plus stretching was great conditioning. Look at a walker or runner who has a slight forward bend. You can count the weeks until they begin to have knee related injuries, shin splints, or hamstring tendon pulls.
* Stay light in weight. A renowned coach from England trained me briefly and mentioned I would not ever last as a runner until I lost weight. I was told to lose 10-15 lbs. which was too much weight
weight for my joints and muscles. Plus if I wanted to move faster, less weight makes a huge difference in speed and muscular movement. I lost weight by trading carbohydrates in the evening to vegetables and protein rich foods.
* Implement “rest days” within your training plan. Rest days can include swimming or biking and/or weight training or just easy walking.
* To get faster, you must learn to go slow. The muscle groups used for fast movement is more of a toe-off foot strike, vs. a slower “jog” which is more heal to toe. Thus, both distance walkers and runners who implement their longest bout are advised to learn to go slow. Then during faster workouts such as track, calves and hamstrings are fresh for the faster-semi ballistic muscle movement.
* After each walk or run, drench your legs with ice water. Ice water is the most potent anti-inflammatory for fatigued and inflamed muscles. This is to be done within 15 minutes after your workout.
* Incorporate a stretching program within your training plan. Taking one yoga class per week and then practice a few key stretches per day from the class; change them each week; your flexibility will increase and imbalances will lessen. Most injuries come from lack of stretching of the following muscle groups and tendons: The Achilles (largest tendon in your body) ,the calf area, hamstrings, lliotibial band, hip flexors, quadriceps, and abductors. Remember, most stretching classes are based from yoga postures; so checking out a book on yoga also is a great idea.
Monkey in the Middle Time…How do I Know I am in the Danger Zone of Getting Injured?
My comment: Glad you asked. I was a product of overtraining. Trying to qualify for Boston was a focus of mine. The more I ran, the more injuries occurred. My performances at various races declined due mostly to running to many miles. I failed to qualify after 3 years of trying. I got a new coach and he immediately told me I was overtraining. He took out two days off from running and lessened the amount of miles per week. I qualified for Boston within a few months and would qualify each year thereafter.
How does it feel when over trained?
* Check out your mood. Are you beginning to feel lethargic and in general, lacking energy?
* Check your resting heart rate. If it is going higher than normal, you are not recovering sufficiently.
* Check your iron levels. Women especially are prone to have low iron levels when training to hard due to their diet not keeping up with the demands of vigorous training and making them anemic.
Remember to eat protein rich foods for muscle rebuilding. Lack of protein is big time reason muscles get weak and fatigued.
* Check your sleep. If you are not feeling well rested at night then that is a signal the heart rate is to high which can promote restless sleep.
* Check your muscle flexibility; if you continually go out morning after morning with stiff muscles and joint pain, it is time to take a day off and rest. If you must “workout”, go for a swim, an easy bike ride, and best of all, practice flexibility exercises.
Let’s Fix You Up!
My Comment: I already mentioned the result of light running shoes. I wanted even MORE speed…we all did years ago and it was those nice looking racing flats we began wearing. Those shoes were easily 6-8 ounces and made leg turnover increase. However we wore them at the expense of pulling our calf muscles and Achilles tendon, increased our hamstring injuries, plus we suffered from various knee problems. Then there was the ball of the foot problems we suffered called neuroma. These maladies result for both the distance walker and runner who wear a shoe which is to light and unstable to support their body weight in relation to impact and movement.
* Get a shoe which matches your foot and sex. I will make this easy. Women usually supinate due to their hips. Women these days are apt to be 10-15 pounds heavier than they want to be. Get a cushioned – stability shoe to keep you moving forward vs. allowing lateral movement. Men are generally heavier than us but do move forward more efficiently. Get a more neutral shoe, with plenty of cushion. In a nutshell for both sexes, if your shoe weighs less than 9 ounces, the shoe is to light.
* 10% rule for upping mileage. This is a well-known law of distance walking or running when you want to progress with higher mileage build up. Better yet, use the 3 week training rule for adaptation of increased mileage. 2 weeks use your 10% rule, the 3rd week go back to your low week of mileage. Then begin again.
* Watch the slant of the road. When you walk/run on the left or right continuously there may be a slight slope due to drainage. There goes a possible lliotibial band and/or knee injury. Try to go on an absolutely flat area. That is why many walkers and runners go to a track for their workout. The track does not have any unnecessary slopes to affect your muscles, is usually smooth without bumps which help avoid tripping.
* Keep the knees protected. The knee is the strongest joint, yet the most imperfect. Lots of hill work and stair walking can bring on knee pain; compression sleeves help greatly to avoid discomfort when challenging the
knees with downward impact.
* If injured, practice F-RICE: Foam Roller massage, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
Understand the warning signs of injury:
1. Joint stiffness and muscle soreness but goes away in 5-10 minutes of movement- you are good to go!
2. Pain which lasts over 10 minutes; no, you should not walk/ run through it. The other parts of your body will compensate creating a possible additional injury. Try another running shoe with a different last.
3. Pain which keeps you up at night or gets worse as you run. Get it checked out. This could be a hairline fracture or a fracture, muscle tear, etc.
Following these measures of prevention will help you stay “on the move” for your lifetime. Remember,implement physical fitness one step at a time.