Causes of injury
Probably the main cause in distance running is the volume of training, especially if there is insufficient rest between sessions. Research has indicated that there is no link between speed and injury in distance runners, unless of course an appropriate warm-up routine has not been followed. Excessive mileage can result in muscles being so fatigued that they are incapable of protecting tendons, cartilage, ligaments and bone.
Many injuries are due to weak muscles or muscle imbalance. Assessment of muscle strength and balance and regular sports massage can be an integral part of a sports injury preventative strategy. Resistance training can make muscles less susceptible to damage. This can be achieved in the gymnasium, but it is important that any exercises are specific to the discipline. If you are a distance runner, hill training is specific and can be a valuable tool for injury avoidance if carried out properly. Core stability exercises are an extremely useful tool in preventing muscle imbalance.
Top Tips For Injury Prevention
- Avoid training when very tired.
- Do not train if stiff from a previous session.
- Avoid being coaxed into training with a fresh, rested runner when you are due an easy session.
- Pay attention to nutrition and hydration and increase carbohydrate consumption in periods of heavy training.
- Increase in training should be matched by an increase in resting.
- Treat minor injuries with great respect to prevent them becoming serious.
- If in pain when training, STOP.
- Keep to soft surfaces wherever possible.
- Introduce new sessions or activities very carefully.
- Be assiduous with warming up and cooling down. Adopt a dynamic warm-up and stretch after a session.
- Wear appropriate running shoes.
- Monitor daily for signs of fatigue.
- Have regular sports massage.
- Carry out core stability exercises on a regular basis.
Remember that succesful running invariably occurs after a protracted period free of injury and illness, so it is worthwhile paying attention to the above points.