The 7 Most Common Routes to Injury

Print page

Comrades 2013 (up run) from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

The fastest ways to guarantee an injury:

1. WEARING NEW SHOES ON RACE DAY

This is tempting, because new running shoes have a slipper-like feel from the first fitting. That might remain the case for a short while, but resist it. A plethora of foot and lower-limb problems are just a few km away.

Prevention Wear them in first.

2. WEARING OLD SHOES

Another big temptation, mainly because new running shoes are so expensive, old ones are so comfortable and it’s easy to judge wear by the state of the outsole and the upper rather than (correctly) by the compression of the midsole. Joint or shin soreness is the most obvious result and, in fact, should be taken as a sign that your shoes need replacing.

Prevention Log the kilometres you’ve run in each pair of shoes, and change them at least every 800-900 kilometres. It’s cheaper than the medical alternative.

3. WEARING THE WRONG SHOES

This could either be a model unsuited to your gait and foot, or a shoe inappropriate to the type of running you’re doing. Either way, you have a problem.

Prevention If you don’t know what you’re doing, shop at a specialist running retailer. Don’t try anything stupid, like doing a trail race in a road shoe.

4. IGNORING PAIN

Runners accept pain as part of the sport, but not all pain is equal. You have to learn to separate good pain, associated with the positive progression of your fitness, from bad pain, which tends to be unfamiliar, infrequent and generally localised in one particular area of the body. It is an early warning sign of injury, the final severity of which will be determined by how much notice you pay.

Prevention Pay attention to unfamiliar pains. Ease off, and seek medical help where necessary.

5. COMMENCING TREATMENT WITHOUT DIAGNOSIS

Okay, so you have an injury, you know it’s a bad one and you feel you know how to solve it. So you start treatment. The trouble is that you’re a runner, not a medical expert. You may have misdiagnosed your problem and started the wrong treatment.

Prevention If there’s any chance that you’re wrong, see a professional and don’t DIY.

6. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH BEFORE OR DURING A RUN

This is less of a problem on big race days, when runners are more meticulous in their preparations, than it is in training. Dehydration affects your health and performance whenever you run.

Prevention Drink fluid little and often throughout the day, every day.

7. INCREASING DISTANCE TOO QUICKLY

Probably THE most common cause of injury. Many runners insist that patience is more of an impediment than a virtue. When you are building up to a longer race or coming back from injury, the temptation is to do it too rapidly.

Prevention Increase your distance by no more than 10 per cent per week.

Avatar of Runners World

About Runners World

Online Editor for Runner's World magazine
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply