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Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic Oakville & Burlington

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic Oakville & Burlington

Injury Prevention and Training Insights for Pandemic-Era Runners (Updated)



Injury Prevention and Training Insights for Pandemic-Era Runners (Updated)

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a newbie in Oakville or Burlington, 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 sports therapists at Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic in Oakville and Burlington help you?

Research Highlights: The Impact of the Pandemic on Running Habits

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 Weekly Mileage: Many runners mentioned that their weekly mileage total had increased. This increases the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Reduced Cross-Training: One important discovery was a reduction in cross-training exercises. Preventing overuse injuries and preserving a balanced musculoskeletal system requires regular cross-training.
  • Slower Pace and Intensity: Runners reported slower running, which they speculated was caused by fewer competitive events. Running more slowly will minimize your chance of acute injuries, but if it’s not combined with other training components, it can lead to overuse problems.
  • Increased Running Outside: More people started running outside because several gyms were temporarily shuttered. While running outside provides diversity and fresh air, it also exposes runners to various environmental conditions and terrain that may increase their risk of injury.

Due to the above findings, it is easy to see why many runners may be at risk for a 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, continue reading to learn more about the common training errors runners make, as well as some strategies to stay healthy, brought to you by our excellent athletic physiotherapists from the Oakville and Burlington physio clinics.

Athlete-Running-Pain-Free-Sheddon-Physio-Sports-Clinic-OakvilleThe Effects of Training Errors on the Health of Runners

Let’s examine some typical training errors: 

  • Overtraining: Overuse injuries can result from pushing your body over its breaking point without taking enough time to relax and recuperate.
  • Ignoring Pain: In the hopes that it will go away on its own, many runners have a tendency to disregard the first indications of discomfort or pain. 
  • Bad Running Form: Running with bad form can cause unnecessary strain on your body. 
  • Poor Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Ignoring your warm-up and cool-down exercises can make you more susceptible to injury.

Strategies for Preventing Running Injuries 

Our lives have changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including how we see fitness and running. Changes like moving from jogging in a group to running alone, going outside instead of on a treadmill, or changing your training objectives may make you more susceptible to running-related ailments. In this section, we’ll go over specific tactics to help you avoid being injured because of changes in your running pattern.

Gradual Progression

Increasing training volume or intensity too rapidly is one of the most frequent mistakes runners make. Follow the slow progression method to reduce this risk. Make small changes to your running regimen instead of significantly raising your distance or pace. To give your body time to adjust, increase your weekly mileage by 10% or less.

Surface Selection

Your body may react differently if you switch from using a treadmill to trails or sidewalks for your runs. Choose a surface with awareness, then ease yourself into it. Different muscle groups can be strained by uneven terrain, so modify your running form accordingly.

Fit of Your Footwear

Changing your running shoes can also lead to injuries. Make sure your new shoes fit correctly and offer enough support for your running type. Consider speaking with an expert to choose the ideal shoe for you.

Diverse Training

Including new activities in your routine, like sprints and hills, might be advantageous, but it should be done gradually. Incorporating high-intensity workouts too quickly may put you in danger for injury. Combine tempo runs, interval training, and easy runs to create a well-rounded training program.

Cross Train

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.

Treat Your Injuries

Don’t let your lingering aches and pains wreak havoc on your running form and potentially cause 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.

Improve your Running Form

Consider consulting a coach or physiotherapist to evaluate and enhance your running technique.

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. 

For more info, contact Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics in Oakville at 905-849-4576 and Burlington at 905-332-1070.

We are located only 6 min East of Oakville Place and 4 min East of Whole Foods Market on Cornwall Rd.

The Burlington physio clinic is located only 5 min west of Spencer Smith Park and 6 min north-west of Burlington Beach, on Plains Rd East.

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