Aching knees? Tight calves? A little bit of shin pain? Maybe your body is trying to tell you something.
As we all know, the majority of injuries start off as what can only be described as ‘niggles’ – especially when it comes to running. These ‘niggles’ can be aches, tightness and sharp pains, which can irritate you and effect your running ability for a period of time. These problems arise when there is something wrong in your training regime, although it is never quite clear what that may be. However, the main point to this blog post is to inform you that ‘niggles’ turn into prolonged injuries when athletes don’t listen to their bodies and continue training regardless, confident that the problem will go away with time.
Even though it may skew your training week, it is better to be safe than sorry and either miss a workout or alter the workout when you have a ‘niggle’ to make sure it doesn’t develop into a serious problem. For example: if you are having impact pains in your shins, and you are supposed to do a 45 minute moderately paced run, either take the day off or change the run to 20-30 minutes on the grass at a slow pace. This way you can ease the pressure off shins, allowing them to recover, whilst still getting out of the house and developing your fitness. This argument is pretty valid for every ‘niggle’ problem – either take the day off or do a short easy run.
At the side of doing this, it is important to maintain the amount of ‘prehab’ work you are doing. ‘Prehab’ is just another way of saying: stretching, rolling and icing. Although it does take time out of your day to do so, it is something the majority of runners should be doing, as it helps loosen the muscles and perhaps solve any problems before they even arise.
Another thing to consider when you are faced with injury problems is to question why they occurred. It is a good idea to analyse your recent training/training schedule, to see what could of caused it. Maybe it could be you are clumping your sessions too close together, or the fact that you are doing too much volume for your own personal physical capability. The solutions to these particular problems can be very simple – change the order and structure of your workouts or just run less.
Another thing to consider will be your footwear. Many athletes can over-look this issue, but if you are wearing running shoes with the wrong support for your gait, that will create consistent injury problems – refer to my previous blog post ‘Love to run? Get a Gait Analysis..’ for further information on the matter.
The key is to listen to your body – figure out when something is wrong, pin point the causality and there will be a way to help. Don’t just ignore it, that’s how we get injured.