Are you Running Into Problems?

Are you Running Into Problems?

The beautiful weather encourages people to get out and run, and be active after a somewhat-sedentary winter. Runners--as much as you want to increase your mileage, limit yourself to 10% per week. Here's an example: if you run three times a week at three miles per run, that's nine miles per week. 10% of that is .9 miles, so in week 2 you should only be running about 10 miles between your three runs.

Running injuries occur due to the repetitive nature of the sport, so listen to your body & be willing to cross train if any of these injuries appear in your first few weeks of training (or ever!) Here are a few common injuries runners experience and how best to deal with them.

Plantar Fascitis - Pain under the heel & radiating through the arch. It's usually worse in the morning, and eases up throughout the day, though it may worsen if activity continues. Causes: sudden increase in mileage, the wrong shoes, tight calf muscles among others. Best treatments include: ice, anti-inflammatories, shoes with ideal arch support, and massaging the feet or rolling them out with a tennis ball when they feel stiff.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome - Symptoms include pain on the outside of the knee, that's sometimes accompanied by a snapping or popping sound. You may also be tender at the hip or experience a general tightness on the outside of the thigh. Causes: running hills, poor footwear, or improper biomechanics. Best treatments include: ice, massage or rolling the tender spots with a foam roller or tennis ball, stretches and of course, avoiding the activity that caused the pain in the first place.

Shin Splints - Pain & tenderness on the inside and front of the lower leg that tends to diminish as you continue through your workout. This is caused by inflammation of the muscular attachments on the tibia. Causes: Running on hard surfaces, improper biomechanics, increasing mileage too quickly, and inadequate footwear. Best treatments: this one is tough - ice and rest initially, but return to activity slowly, focusing on low impact activities. If shin splints aren't dealt with carefully they can progress to a stress fracture! Most runners just have to stop running for a while until the tenderness subsides

Don't run into problems! Head to a running shoe specialist to see if you are in need of extra support or corrective shoes for overpronation or oversupination. Increase mileage slowly, and be aware that if you are heavier than the last time you ran consistently, that extra weight creates greater impact forces, increasing stress on your knees, ankles and arches, therefore there's a greater likelihood of muscle strain & joint pain. This doesn't mean you can't run - just start gradually & listen to your body as you progress. The last thing you want once you've found the motivation to run is to have to cut back due to injury! If you are just starting out, or looking for a safe way to progress your mileage, sign up for a running training program.

Contributors: Kelsey Newman, CJAC Fitness Director & Erin Hundley- CJAC Personal Trainer