We are well and truly into the cold weather and with this means the start of cross country and longer distance running events. Whilst a lot of the major running events like the Melbourne Marathon are towards the end of the year, preparation starts a long time before then. So here are some common distance running mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Not doing anything other than running.
A lot of runners just love to run. That is completely understandable. It’s ideal for busy people who can chuck on their runners and get out the door without too much forward planning. You can also feel like you’ve done a super hard workout in a short period of time. The problem with this is often if our muscles aren’t strong enough to cope with the amount of running you are doing they can become tight and start to cause issues. If you are planning on completing a longer distance run it is strongly recommended to try and incorporate some type of resistance work twice a week. This can be through Pilates, at the gym or even a home workout (I particularly love Oregon Project Stability Routine, plus I also throw in some calf raises and bent over rows). Not only will this decrease the likelihood of injury but you should also find that your running improves and you feel like you can work harder for longer. Sports Physiotherapists are ideally trained to implement these plans for you.
2. Not including rest periods.
It is common with any type of running program that you will slowly progress the amount of running that you complete over time. Most plans on the internet will slowly progress you until you get to race day. Whilst this is good in theory, we also must make sure that we are allowing our body to recover to allow it to make the changes for better running. You could look to do this every four weeks, just dropping your kilometres over this week should allow your body to recover. You should also feel fresh the following week as your start to load up again. This will hopefully keep any sniffles or colds at bay which can sometimes occur after long periods of constant exercise.
3. Following running plans with big jumps in loading or unrealistic running goals.
For those of us without running coaches often we turn to the internet for plans. I’m guilty of this. What is essential is finding a plan that works for you. Whilst searching through the internet to find a plan, be wary of massive jumps in training load. Ie week one, running 20 mins three times a week, to running 40 mins three times a week the following. Also if you’re someone that is completely new to running and there is a plan that has you running 5-6 times a week this is a massive jump in your usual loads and could potentially cause injury. So when searching for a plan make sure there is a gradual increase in load and not a ridiculous amount of exercise compared to your baseline. Talk to the experts. We can help devise a return to running plan for you.
4. Thinking that running with pain is normal.
As distance runners most of us know that sometimes a run will feel amazing and can feel like we are cruising, other times our legs feel like lead and a run is a hard slog. What isn’t normal is running with pain. The motto no pain no gain does not work in this instance. If you feel like you’re starting to get niggles or pushing through pain. It is worthwhile getting on top of this now and find out exactly what is going on. This not only may save you weeks of grief leading into an event, but the chances of your running a PB or enjoying your run are a lot higher if you’re running pain free!
5. Changing routine drastically before the run.
A lot of people ask what they should be doing the week before an event. Most of the time you will be doing what you were already doing before, but just to a lesser extent. A week out from an event isn’t the time to implement a new stretching routine, or go nuts in the gym or go on a detox diet. Keep things consistent and keep it simple, stupid!
Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy physio’s have the skills and experience with running injuries so create a comprehensive running physiotherapy program to improve your recovery and rehabilitation. Contact our friendly team to discuss a treatment plan, find out more or book an appointment today. Talk to Jessie Couch, she's our running guru!