Helen Tremblay, Physiotherapist
The Running Clinic
If you run, you know running can hurt… and that this can be a good thing, or a very, very bad thing. There is so much ‘wisdom’ and if running is going to be a part of your 2016, make sure you’re running smart!
What does that mean? First and foremost, it means making sure ‘feeling the burn’ isn’t really ‘running injured’. But in order to stay healthy, we’ve got to do two things: 1) we’ve got to make sure we’re doing things that add to, not detract from our well-being; and 2) we’ve got to make sure that the things we’re doing aren’t inadvertently causing more harm.
In this and the next Blog, we’ll explore some commonly held misconceptions about running injuries. Let’s get myth-bustin’!!!
1st Myth: How we get hurt
It’s widely believed that most injuries are caused by external factors (choice or style of shoe, the hardness of running surfaces, the cold) or internal factors (personal running mechanics, under/over-stretched muscles).
Most injuries are due to abnormal stress on the tissues brought on by a rapid increase in training volume or intensity; ummm…. we do it to ourselves! Train smart; add high-intensity and high-volume elements to your workout gradually – and don’t overdo it. Even when you’re used to the hard stuff, make sure you’re getting adequate and scheduled rest days, and lighter workouts in too.
2nd Myth: There a maximum number of runs/week
You’ll hear people say it is better to train 2-3 times per week, and cross-train on non-run days, rather than run 6 times per week.
No one’s ever proven this; there is no study that quantifies an optimal frequency of training. What the Myth is after, is that it may be better to have less intense but more frequent repetitive-stress on the tissues – but nothing’s to say these can’t be less intense, more frequent runs.
3rd Myth: Our shoes protect us from injury
We feel great in new shoes, and we tend to believe that a shoe’s cushioning prevents injury by reducing the shock the runner feels on their body.
A shoe’s cushioning does not change the stress on the bones or joints, and the body tends to adapt to these forces anyways; if you’re feeling hurt, it’s more likely a change in the volume or intensity of your workouts that’s to blame.,. it’s almost always too many shocks that makes us feel the shock.
4th Myth: Grass > Pavement
It might be our inner-Ecowarrior talking when we say that hard surfaces are more harmful… but while pavement is clearly less pleasant to look at a smell than grass, we’re on thin ice saying that hard surface, or hills, increase a runner’s risk of injury.
Rubber or cinder track, grass, gravel path, pavement, concrete….No surface has been shown to increase injury. You can hurt yourself on any of them…
5th Myth: Some people have ‘injury prone’ bodies
“Running’s not for you!” If you have flat feet, or wide hips, you might have heard this. But do your ‘structural abnormalities’ increase your risk of injury?
No one’s born injury-proof, right? Well it’s just as true that body-types, or ‘abnormality’, are not predictors of running injuries.
Check back soon, and we’ll bust some more myths about running injuries!
Helen (& the KOPC Team)