Those of us that run a lot can become totally immersed in every little ache and pain or niggle that we get during and after our runs. We may have times where we have to miss a couple of weeks because of that recurring calf strain or tight glute. We may go back to run and can feel it ‘go’ again. Suddenly we’re heading out covered in supports or tape or anything just to enable us to get out there and get another one under the belt with the wondrous odour of deep heat trailing our every stride. ‘These 800 metre intervals are in the marathon plan, if I miss these I’m not going to get my time. I should go and see someone but they’ll tell me to stop running so I’ll see how it goes.’
These are all very common issues faced by regular runners and from personal experience I know they can impact a runner’s psychological state. Our long suffering other halves may well bare testimony to this!!
Often we need to look beyond just how we run
It is estimated that 80% of running injuries are caused by training error. Even the most experienced of runners can look back at their Strava logs or their Garmin data and think ‘I dodged a bullet there after those 3 continuous hill sessions!’ Reflecting and analysing our training regimes can be much more effective than altering our running style but we can still be more drawn to wanting to ‘correct’ the way we run in order be able to maintain our gruelling training regime. Yes, looking at running styles is useful but sometimes too much change can lead to other issues. What we can all do though is sensibly look at how much demand we are placing on our body irrespective of the way that we do it.
Of course tweaking aspects of running technique may well help, especially if you have a recurrent niggle somewhere. It could be that making a slight alteration or working harder on some specific strength and conditioning could allow these niggles to become less frequent and disappear for good as well as working on some running specific drills as part of your weekly training plan. I absolutely love observing the many different ways that we all run. For some, you would think how on earth can they run like that and not hurt themselves?? The fact is they have been running like that for years and never had a problem. Their body can effectively manage the demands that their running is placing on it. Why change anything here?!!!
The importance of sleep
We are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of getting good sleep yet this is not something that we would necessarily factor in as we start to wonder why we are running slower, getting more aches and pains or just generally getting more fatigued more quickly during our runs. Sleep and recovery are vital components that affect our ability to perform at our optimum levels and are central to our wellbeing as a whole. I am generally an early morning runner and hitting the sack at a sensible time is vital for me to be able to perform well in the mornings. I find it a much harder discipline to adhere to than following a comprehensive marathon plan!
Improve, reflect and adapt
There is no doubt that however an experienced a runner we are, there is always room to improve, reflect and adapt to enable us to optimise our true running potential. Looking physically at the way we run is one such aspect but hopefully this short piece has also highlighted the many other factors that are equally important in helping us to reduce our risks of injury, improve our performance and most importantly increase the enjoyment that we get from this simple form of exercise.
Our Runwise service aims to cover all of these areas to help you get the best out of your running. As a more experienced runner there may well be things that you have never considered and as a new runner there are plenty of things you can learn to help you as begin your running journey. We can look at you run and give you some areas to work on as well as looking at your lifestyle and training habits and helping you effectively manage it all.
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