“Running is bad for your knees”
This is a statement I hear all the time, one that has developed with no real evidence. If you are of healthy weight, have healthy knees and are not subject to osteoarthritis then there is nothing to back up that running will cause osteoarthritis in your knees. Sure, there are risks of injury through running, but this is also true of swimming, cycling, weight lifting and of course… being inactive. The knees are the most prone area to injury in runners but there are ways we can reduce this risk. Build the points below into your regime to help minimise the risk of injury during your running journey.
Running is a whole body exercise, strengthening your legs, hips, back and abdominals can improve your running stride and delay fatigue. Variations of squats, deadlifts and lunges are fundamental exercises to factor into your strength training and with good technique will strengthen your legs, core and back. Many knee injuries can be linked to weak or imbalanced muscles, often coming from the hips. Isolating the glutes with exercises such as glute bridges and clams help stablise the hips and knees and therefore reduce the risk of injury.
Your running schedule should not be the same all year round, periodising your training will improve your speed, strength, power, aerobic capacity etc, reduce the risk of injury and will keep it interesting. Structure your training into 4-8weeks blocks each with a different focus to improve your training. Starting with a base foundation fitness and muscular endurance is a good place to start before moving onto strength and power stages. There is an inverse relationship between volume and intensity, meaning that when one increases, the other decreases. During strength and power phases the intensity of your training will be very high but the volume will need to drop to allow your body to recover and get the most from your sessions. As you are starting to build your distance up and endurance becoming the key focus, the intensity will drop.
Below is the most basic chart you will find on the relationship between intensity vs volume.
Self Treatment – Stretching, self massage, mobility training
These are all things you can do yourself at home. Stretching can be done in front of the TV in the evening to improve any extra tight muscles you have, more importantly you need to be doing dynamic stretches before you train to warm the muscles up, and stretches after training to help return muscles back to their original length before your session. (Check out our free 5km running plan on our homepage for some pre and post running stretches).
If you have any knots or tight muscles, applying some pressure to the area can help alleviate these. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, ask a professional for some advice.
If you are not moving correctly the risk of injury is greatly increased… performing some moves in the gym or at home to help mobilise joints and muscles can greatly reduce the risk of injury.
Professional Care – Sports Massage, Osetopathy, Physiotherapy, Coaching
Living with pain should not be normality (sore muscles after a workout is allowed) if you are suffering with muscle or joint pain, get checked out by an osteopath or physiotherapist and get the problem sorted. Life and training will be much more fun if you aren’t in pain!
I recommend our friends at Herts Pain & Injury Clinic who I see regularly to keep me in check and injury free!
Regular sports massage will help muscles recover and work out any knotted or tense muscles that have tightened up. Pre and post race massages are also great to ensure you go into your race as prepared as possible and recover faster!
Having a professional coach to structure your training can prevent you from over training, make you stronger, faster, fitter and ultimately help you enjoy your target race! Want to have a chat about how a coach could help you with your running? Contact Us now and we can see if our coaching style is suited to you!