At this time of year, lots of you are out training for running events, whether it’s the Tring Park Run, a half marathon or the London Marathon. As a result, at LD Sports Therapy, we treat a lot more legs in February and March than we do the rest of the year! Here are our top tips to stay injury free whilst training.
1. Plan your programme – You don’t want to overload your body too quickly and risk causing an injury. To avoid this only increase your mileage by approximately 10% each week.
2. Wear good running shoes – This is so important to support your feet and ankles and prevent the rest of your legs from compensating. Compensation can lead to muscle imbalance and injury. Don’t forget good socks to prevent blisters.
3. Do a good warm up – This should include raising your heart rate and body temperature then dynamic movements to take each joint through its full range. Some people still like to do a static stretch before exercise but the current research indicates that dynamic movements are the most successful in preventing injuries.
4. Cooling down afterwards – this is so important and often forgotten as we rush back to daily life. Think of it as injury prevention, after gradually lowering your heart rate to resting, we recommend four static stretches of thirty seconds each for each muscle group, such as calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes.
5. Strength training – Consider including some strength training once a week in your programme. Evidence shows this allows better performance and reduced injuries. Seek professional advice before beginning a strength programme, particularly to have it tailored to you and your aims.
Finally, a sports massage is a great way to take care of yourself when you are training. The massage flushes out the muscles, removing waste substances that are a by-product of exercise, such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. If these substances are not removed they can slow down the healing process as the muscles try and recover after each run.
Massage lengthens and realigns muscle tissue and therefore prevents injury by addressing these problems before they escalate. In reality, this means if you have a tight, sore muscle, get it treated rather than continuing to run on it.
A massage can also be used as a pre or post run treatment. Different techniques are used in each circumstance. For a pre-event massage, allow five days between massage and event so we can still be thorough and allow the tissue to heal before the run. For post event massage, wait 24-48 hours or until any initial soreness has passed.
Book an injury assessment or sports massage to keep your running on track or call Laura on 07946 750265 for further advice.