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Get back to running… and don’t get injured!

Get back to running… and don’t get injured!

Published on February 28, 2022

By Osteopath Jess Loughnan

We’ve walked all of Yarraville during lockdown and our 5km radius seems like a distant memory… so now it’s time to run into all those lovely and mysterious neighbouring suburbs!

Some amazing new garden beds to get inspiration from and coffee shops to explore on your runs!

BUT before you get out into the world, here are a few things to think about before tightening up those laces and pounding the pavement. 

Notice the niggle before it becomes a pickle.

First things first, if you notice a pain or a niggle while walking I can just about guarantee you that will only get worse once you start running.

Running increases load into our joints and muscles which tends to be an aggravating factor for these niggles. I doubt this is surprising information, but ignorance can be bliss so keep this in mind. 

Warm ups are extremely underrated.

Warm ups are supremely useful. As tempting as it is to get out and go, to prevent injury there are a few moves which will help switch on some very significant muscles which are used while running.

This is even more important if you have been sitting down all day at the desk or in the car – situations where these key muscle groups are not switching on one bit. As you have probably worked out, I’m talking about your glutes which are found in your bum. And it is so easy to switch them on too! A glute bridge is perfect for this.

If you’re unfamiliar with a bridge, check out the photo below. You can also search YouTube for ‘glute bridge’ – a thousand hits will come up, and they just about all show the same thing. Or, ask your osteo to demonstrate at your next appointment. The key tip when performing the bridge is to make sure your heels are as close to your bum as possible – if they’re far out this will hit your hamstrings, we want the glutes. Tuck your tailbone as you lift your hips, instead of arching your lower back.

Do 10 standard bridges, then 5 single leg bridges on each leg (to prevent any cheeky compensations) before every run. This will remind your brain that these muscles do exist, and that neural connection will carry through to the run so you drive through these beautiful strong muscles and not the lower back or hamstrings. 

Standard Bridge
Single Leg Bridge

Cadence?

The last strategy is to take a look at your cadence.

What’s cadence you ask?

Cadence is how many steps you take in one minute. If you use a running app this data will very likely be stored somewhere on it. If you don’t use a running app (you know it doesn’t count if it’s not on strava, right???) then give counting your steps for about a minute a go, but good on you because I would absolutely loose count.

Cadence is important, because an ideal number of steps per minute has been found regarding injury prevention (you can read more about this here https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a25782303/why-cadence-matters-for-runners/ ) . Ideally you’re looking at 160-180 steps per minute; 160 if you’re just starting out, our elite runners are likely getting to around the 200 mark.

By hitting in this range, very generally speaking it means your stride length is ideal. You’re not over striding where the leg reaches too far out, placing your lower limb joints under a lot of force. And you’re not putting the leg directly underneath you either where it’s a lot harder to use the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings to propel you forward.

Some running apps are in cahoots with your music streaming apps and can provide playlists so you run to the beat of your cadence. It’s a great way to keep you accountable to your cadence while distracting you from the feelings of joy in your legs. Win-win. 

What if you are in a pickle?

The great thing is if you do get any injuries along the way, which does happen, you’re in safe hands with the osteopaths at Growing Bones.

We’re here to help, and can offer more advice and suggestions in the clinic tailored to your needs. So if you get sore or want to find our more information, give us a call or jump online to make an appointment. Happy running! 

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