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Running: Don’t Give Up on a Lifetime of Adventures


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So it’s coming up to Christmas already which is an exciting time of the year: parties, maybe a winter break in the sun or snow and the intention to get back into running for the New Year possibly. This piece of writing is dedicated to those runners who are struggling with an ongoing niggle or ache or an injury which keeps recurring every time they hit the trails / roads / treadmill. Firstly, let me reassure you that I feel your pain and know the mental torture you are going through as I have travelled this angry road myself. So before giving up on running as many runners do in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s & 60’s, I’m going to discuss how addressing “Running Economy” which might just help you overcome your struggle.

A Fine Wine

The physiological and psychological benefits of running get better the older you get. Age is but an excuse, this I promise in spite of it being cited as a risk factor in research. And although I doff my cap to the likes Satterthwiate & colleagues for taking the time to carry out their investigation on the effects of age, I remain unconvinced by such findings: people of all ages get injured from running, not just the old - fact (Johnny Wilson, 2019). Running is akin to a fine wine; mystical with fruity undertones and plentiful in mind and body inducing feel good factors. The hangover from wine might be likened to injury, However, in my humble opinion, this is a small price to pay for the 100’s of running adventures that lie aching in wait for you.


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Time Travelling: Destination: Childhood

One of the great unadulterated joys left to us as adults is the ability to access memories of childhood through running. The times when you would prefer to skip, run, bounce, jump hop your way into your new adventure, be it at playtime or simply a visit to the shops. Walking was simply not an option. It now seems that for the majority of us this is no longer the locomotion of choice. These youthful physiological and psychological enhancing modes of transport have been replaced by invading someone’s armpit on the tube or shivering at the bus stop or grumbling about the cancelled train due to too much sunshine on the tracks or channel hopping on the radio while waiting patiently in traffic, you get my point, right!!


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While all of the above may conjecture a level of cynicism in my writing, the one I am about to discuss is with sincere concern. What if running or your choice of activity, hobby or sport has been taken away from you by PAIN? What if you have no choice in the matter..... Well for a number of people this is the case. While the majority of injuries related to running settle down within a relatively short period of time with very little intervention needed, if any, just the magic ingredients of time, rest & recovery and a little bit of TLC, there are times when running injuries can become very problematic, time consuming, mentally challenging and ultimately force you to give up on what you love best.


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Common Running Injuries

If you click here you can read about some of the conditions we see in our SEM clinic at 108 and some of the strategies we use to treat them. The strategies in the Common Running Injuries blog are a guideline and it’s important to remember that NO SIZE FITS ALL. For rehabilitation to be efficacious it's important to be individualised to each person’s physiological / psychological needs and the requirements of their running aspirations. For example, one person with Achilles tendon pain may need to improve their aerobic fitness levels and adjust their stride length as they are training for a marathon, while another person with patellofemoral pain (knee pain) may need to improve their explosive strength and increase their stride frequency as they are preparing for a 400m race, its horses for courses so to speak. So if your interested in finding out some more about principles / patterns that we commonly see and also some strategies that you might try yourself then make sure you check them.

Stick or twist

Injuries are part and parcel of running. Fact. if you run the likelihood is that you are going to get injured at some point. It’s a risk versus reward scenario. For me, the enjoyment (reward) I get out of running, biking, surfing, snowboarding or playing football with my son always outweighs the risk of getting injured. While, I am ok with the risk of getting injured from these activities I still do everything I can to reduce this risk by improving my “Running Economy” through some of the strategies mentioned above. I’ll discuss this interesting topic in more detail in our next blog.

Taking that first step

If you are in pain at this moment or injured you’re not on your own. Right now, there are thousands of runners in the same boat as you. Thankfully, most of these injuries will settle pretty quickly and without complication. There are however, a minority of cases which may need further investigation, to help resolve the matter. If you find yourself complaining of a niggling ache which hasn’t settled down in a reasonable timeframe or an injury that just keeps recurring when you return to running no matter how much rehab you have done, then it might be no bad idea at all to contact us at 108 or your local Sport & Exercise Medicine Department for a thorough assessment, diagnosis, advice and corrective running program to get you up and running again.

A life filled full of Adventures

Getting back to my own running adventures, there are a couple of runs on my bucket list, and I’m working my way towards them. If you haven’t come across the “Leadville 100” or the “Marathon Des Sables” (a big thanks to Rachel Royer for introducing me to this adventure), then I urge you to google them or catch an episode on YouTube: truly inspiring and will surely strengthen your own resolve to get back to what you love doing most.


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Come say hello

If any of the above resonates and you’d like to find out a little bit more about our approach at 108, whether you are a clinician, athlete, recreational runner or weekend warrior then please don’t be shy about getting in touch: We’d love to hear from you.


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See you at the start line………….

Johnny

 

References

Breen DT, Foster J, Falvey E, et al. Gait re-training to alleviate the symptoms of anterior exertional lower leg pain: a case series. Int J Sports Phys Ther 2015;10:85–94.

Franklyn-Miller A, Roberts A, Hulse D, et al. Biomechanical overload syndrome: defining a new diagnosis. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:415–16.

Lenhart RL, Thelen DG, Wille CM, et al. Increasing running step rate reduces patellofemoral joint forces. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2014;46:557–64.

Noehren B, Scholz J, Davis I. The effect of real-time gait retraining on hip kinematics, pain and function in subjects with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Br J Sports Med 2011;45:691–6.

Pohl MB, Messenger N, Buckley JG. Changes in foot and lower limb coupling due to systematic variations in step width. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2006;21:175–83.

Satterthwaite P, Norton R, Larmer P, et al. Risk factors for injuries and other health problems sustained in a marathon. Br J Sports Med 1999;33:22–6.

Seay J, Selbie WS, Hamill J. In vivo lumbo-sacral forces and moments during constant speed running at different stride lengths. J Sports Sci 2008;26:1519–29.

Willy RW, Scholz JP, Davis IS. Mirror gait retraining for the treatment of patellofemoral pain in female runners. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2012;27:1045–51.

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