Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a newbie, the pandemic has probably changed your running behaviours and training schedules. Whether you’ve switched from running in a group to solo, from running on a treadmill at the gym to outside, or even from running with a race goal in mind to running for stress relief, these changes may be putting you at risk for injury. What can you do, and how can the therapists at Sheddon help you?
Research shows that roughly 90% of runners will suffer from a running related injury, with 75% of those injuries due to training errors. Some of the most common errors include:
- Increasing volume too quickly;
- Increasing intensity too quickly;
- Change of surface (i.e., treadmill, sidewalks, trails etc.);
- Change in running shoe;
- Change in training (i.e., adding hills, sprints, etc).
What has changed with the pandemic?
DeJong et al., surveyed over a thousand runners from 15 countries to see how the pandemic has changed their running routine. Some of their key findings include:
- Increased total number of weekly runs;
- Increased weekly mileage;
- Increase in number of longer runs;
- Decrease in cross training;
- Slower pace and intensity;
- Increased running outdoors;
- Increased injury risk, specifically high reports of patellofemoral pain and medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints);
- Less motivation to run due to races, socialization;
- Increase in running to occupy free time and stress relief
Due to the above findings, it is easy to see why many runners may be suffering from a current running related injury. Since Covid, many runners have increased their distance and frequency of running and decreased cross training, which is essential for injury prevention. If you managed to run through the pandemic and stay injury free, the key to continue staying healthy includes:
- NOT suddenly changing your training once races and competitions open up;
- Start cross training. Running is great, but you need to add strength training to prevent muscle imbalances from the repetitive nature of running. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to cross train. Bands, body weight, and light weights at home are just as effective.
- NOT letting your lingering aches and pains wreak havoc on your running form and potentially cause new injuries. For example, that nagging knee pain that you ignore may be part of a bigger problem that can be fixed with simple exercises or changes to your running form.
What can the team at Sheddon do for you?
Sheddon Physiotherapy has a great team of therapists that can assess and treat your current injuries. During your assessment, we will go through your running history (ie., how often you run, what type of surface, shoes, etc). We will also do an objective scan looking at range of motion, strength and function. When appropriate, we will also do a biomechanical analysis on the treadmill. While you are running on the treadmill, we look at stride length, foot strike, cadence and any other biomechanical dysfunctions which may be leading to your injury or can lead to a future injury. If you have questions about footwear, we also have a pedorthist on site that can answer any of your questions.
If you want more information on how to treat your current running injury or develop a running specific training program to reduce the risk of injury this season, your Sheddon Physiotherapist can get you started. Call us at (905) 849-4576 or book here:
DeJong AF, Fish PN, Hertel J (2021) Running behaviors, motivations, and injury risk during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of 1147 runners. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0246300. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0246300