Athletes

It's that time of year when flushed with the desire to get back to it after a bit of a break over the festive period can result in you getting injured. Avoiding injuries is paramount to any kind of sustainable progress, even more so as we get older.  Given that you are always likely to pick one up at some point it rather than fire back into things after the holidays it's a far better idea to ease yourself back into things.

I did this myself November and wasted about 3 weeks of training, though thankfully no injury. I say thankfully as I was coming back from a slight quad tear. It took me 3 weeks to realise that I needed to adjust things down. The rest period I had just had was on the back of having peaked as well as the quad tear. As a result, I had the general deconditioning that occurs after a rest period plus there was the normal drop in performance from the peak itself.

injured athlete

The treatment for soft tissue and other injuries has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. Yet for all this many, well-meaning, therapists of all persuasions still seem set on perpetuating some outright garbage. What are some of the biggest and best of them told on a daily basis to those seeking help for their injuries.

Any return to running program is rarely a straight line. Returning to running after an injury is a frustrating process, there is little point in pretending otherwise. The injury now means you can't run or can't run as much as you would like to. On top of this, you have a rehab program to follow that all seem like a waste of time. The first step in speeding up the rehab process is to embrace it. Start looking at the rehab period as an opportunity to develop a more robust body and come back stronger and, potentially, faster.

Last week I had a quick look at the benefits to runners of including strength training in their program. This week we'll look at when to schedule strength training in a running program. Where should you fit it in so that you get the benefit of having it in there but not have an adverse effect on your main activity, that is to say running?  

The first step in any injury assessment is what previous injuries do you have. The biggest predictor of future injury lies in your injury history. As a result looking into your injury history will play an important roll in deciding on what needs to be done. If you have previously injured your ankle, knee or hip these are areas we need to investigate in the injury assessment. We do this becasue of the scale of the impact they have on the way you move. Two of the more important things that we are looking out for in the clinic are asymmetries and pain.When we are assessing movement we are looking to see both how good it is and does it cause pain.

Marathon preparation is a lengthy one and it is worth spending some time planning it. If you have just finished one or a half marathon and thinking about your next challenge. It may be stepping up to the marathon or looking at setting a PB in the next marathon. Whatever challenge the next race is it's worth setting some goals and formulating a training plan. It's estimated that for those tackling the marathon around 90%, yes you read that correctly 90%, will pick up some sort of injury. This is simply down to the training being tough. You need to get used to spending a lot of time on your feet and it gets to the stage where a short run is 5 or 6 miles. Not all of these injuries will be significant in terms of lost training time but it still highlights how demanding the training is.

Runners' Knee is a common complaint with runners. 10% of runner's will experience some sort of knee pain in any given year. Given it's so common what causes it and what can you do about it? Generally most injuries runner pick up are of a "repetitive strain" nature and runner's knee is no exception. Given the nature of running, this isn't really that big a surprise. There aren't really many demands in terms of changing direction or speed. It is very much about simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Knowing what you can and cannot do is the crux of any rehab program and pushing the envelop of this is where changes occur and, ultimately, you get back to doing the things you enjoy. We can run tests until the cows come home but the bottom line is what can you actually do before things begin to hurt. We may be test you in a number of different exercises for our subjective and objective tests in the clinic but these really only give us a guide as to what you are capable of.