Dubai, UAE – Most of us have heard the term ‘prevention is easier than cure’ and this is true for many injuries, especially niggling injuries that won’t resolve over time. Below are my top tips for preventing common running complaints:
1 ) Warm up and cool down –
A warm-up should involve dynamic stretches for example heel kicks, walking lunges and a light steady jog at the start. Following the run, spend the last 10 minutes at an easy pace to let the heart rate return to a resting beat and allow circulation of lactic acid. During the cool down it is essential to do static stretches, for example, calf, hip and thigh stretches. With a static stretch, you want to hold and maintain the position for a minimum of 30 seconds to allow the muscle fibres to stretch and elongate.
2) Stretch and foam roll –
With running, muscles will tighten and if we don’t stretch after and in between runs you will lose the flexibility of muscles which will shorten over time and can lead to strains. The fascia is the fibrous structure that sits on top of the muscles. Foam rolling helps to keep the fascia gliding smoothly over the muscles.
3) Sports Deep tissue massages –
The main benefit of massage for runners is that it improves the flexibility and tone of the muscles and reduces adhesions or minor scar tissue between muscles. Incorporating a regular deep tissue massage into your routine will have the added benefit of reducing tight spots; flush out toxic chemicals; keep muscle fibres smooth and loose, and continue running pain-free.
Massage helps optimise recovery. Scheduling a massage after your long runs in training or post-race (5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon) can reduce pain and the intensity of muscle soreness that follows, allowing you to recover faster. The other benefits include increased blood flow; improved recovery time; removal of waste products from the muscle (ie. Lactic acid) and increase mobility.
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4) Strength and conditioning –
For efficient running, you require the strength of the muscles to ensure good form and alignment. Many of the injuries are often accountable for poor biomechanics. It is essential for runners to maintain a strong core and gluteal muscles to allow good pelvic control and lower limb alignment.
5) Run clinic assessment –
Here at UPANDRUNING we offer run assessments which will look in detail at how you run and the footwear you run in. Changing your stride and shoe can make a great deal of difference to your overall mechanics and risk of injury.
6) Correct nutrition –
On a day to day basis ensure eating adequate protein to allow tissue repair and sufficient carbohydrates to fuel your runs. Dr Ramzy Ross can advise you on how to use fueling as a racing strategy. During your runs stay hydrated and longer runs for instance over 60 minutes take fast acting carbohydrates from gels, bananas or candy to keep your muscle glycogen levels topped up.
7) Rest days –
Proper recovery is essential to allow your tissues to repair after training sessions and reduce too much stress on the body. Always try and schedule at least one rest day into your training week, this could be a great opportunity for you to use this day for a therapeutic yoga session or guided stretch class.