How to reduce your risk of running-related injuries

How to reduce your risk of running-related injuries

The City to Surf is approaching, and despite the cold weather, lots of Sydneysiders are hitting the track in preparation. If you’re thinking about participating, and in particular if you’re new to running or are planning to challenge yourself in training, then it’s wise to take a few simple precautions. Below are four tips that will minimise your chance of common running injuries and, most importantly, allow you to finish the race!

1)      Technique.  Just because running is something most of us inherently know how to do, this doesn’t mean running is something we inherently know how to do well.  Growing up running in thick-soled shoes means most of us (about 80% of us) tend to take long strides and strike the ground with our heels. The impact of each stride travels up through our ankle, knee, hip and spine, which not only increases the stress on these areas, but also means that we are effectively braking with each step. As a result, we are slowed down, and our performance is worsened.

You can start to correct this by taking shorter strides.  Rather than extending your leg ahead of your body and landing heel-first with your foot in front of your hips, try to land on your mid-foot, with your foot directly underneath your body.  Many people find that running barefoot will naturally encourage this style of running, but leaning forward slightly as you run (from the ankles, not from the waist) can also help you adapt.  It’s recommended that you strengthen your feet before you jump into any barefoot running. Check out for some handy exercises to assist with the transition.

More information about improving your technique is also available

2)      Footwear.  The new barefoot-style shoes are great, but on a couple of conditions.  You have to have your running technique down, and you have to be free from knee injury, obesity, poor muscle tone, or problems with joint position sense. The Terra Plana Vivobarefoots, Nike Free Run+ and Vibram FiveFingersare the most common examples of this type of shoe.

If barefoot-style shoes aren’t suitable for you, then look for traditional running shoes with good arch support or orthotics as required. However, you can also develop the arches in your feet with some simple exercises available at:

3)      Cross train.  Just because bananas are good for you, doesn’t mean you’ll be healthy if you eat nothing but bananas.  So why just run? Add some strength and interval training; it’ll keep the rest of your body in balance and keep your training fun and interesting.  A strong abdominal core gained through strength or specific core work is crucial for good running technique and injury prevention, so think about adding a pilates class to your weekly schedule.

4)      Stay well adjusted. Regular chiropractic care can help identify and deal with any minor problems that may build up over the course of your training.   By improving the function of your spine and nervous system, chiropractic helps remove interference to the communication between your brain and your body, helping you perform at your best.

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