5 Common Running Injuries and How to Treat Them


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As you clock up the miles in preparation for any running race, it’s inevitable that the constant pounding of the pavement will take it’s toll on your body.  We all know the importance of warming up before you head out and having a good stretch when you finish, however these good practices aren’t always enough to prevent injuries from rearing their ugly heads.  Some aches and pains are just part and parcel of being a runner, whilst others can be more serious and it’s therefore important to know when to take a break and seek help.

Here’s our list of the 5 most common running injuries and some suggestions on how to treat them, however we would like to highlight that we’re not medical professionals and it’s always worth going to see a specialist, such as Parkview Clinic in Reigate, if you have any persistent pain or discomfort.

Runner’s Knee

Research shows that 40% of reported running injuries are related to the knee which makes sense when you think it’s one of the joints which takes the most strain.

Symptoms – constant pain below the kneecap.

Problem – the cartilage under the kneecap has become irritated and the tissue around the knee is unable to repair itself post run.  

Cause – this can occur due to a variety of reasons including overpronation, weak quads, glutes and hips or even ‘biomechanical’ flaws that have formed over a number of years including pelvic alignment.

Treatment – don’t run through the pain as it will only result in a long term injury.  Take a week off and regularly ice the knee which might help you get back on track.  Stretch and strengthen exercises, especially your quadriceps muscles.  If it’s sore all the time, even when you’re not running then you definitely need to take a break and see a physio.  They will also be able to pinpoint the cause of pain (biomechanical, muscle weakness, pronation etc.) and help treat the root of the problem.

Return to training – once your injury is on the mend, heat rather than ice can help repair to repair the damage.  Ease gently back into your running slowly and work on strengthening up those weaker muscles.  Mix up your workouts with some cross training on a bike or in the pool.

Achilles Tendonitis

Symptoms – painful calves when running or walking, swelling and pain close to the heel which when acute, can be severe and crippling.

Problem – Anything with ‘itis’ means inflammation, with Achilles Tendonitis being an inflammation of the achilles tendon which joins the two calf muscles to the heel bone.

Cause – the root of this can come from increasing your distances/speed too quickly or having tight calf muscles.  Flip flops, high heels (obviously not when running) and unsupportive shoes can aggravate the issue too.  

Treatment –  any severe pain above the heel or swelling, you should stop immediately.  If it’s a small strain then a few days of rest, regular icing and stretching might relieve the symptoms, anything more serious, go and see a physio.  Inserts into your shoes may help provide more support and some runners find that compression socks help.

Return to training – add to your training calf raises, single leg squats and box jumps to help strengthen your lower legs.  Take it easy when you start running again with shorter distances, slower speeds and lots of stretching.

Plantar Fascitis

Feel that this should have a catchier name!

Symptoms – ranges from a dull ache to extreme pain under your heel.

Problem – a small tear or inflammation in the tendons that run along the bottom of your foot.  

Cause – runners who are prone to this can have high or low arches, pronation issues, tight hip flexors, a history of back pain or may just have increased their mileage too quickly.

Treatment – this is one that you shouldn’t keep running through as it will only prolong the injury.  Rolling your foot a few times a day over a frozen bottle or tennis ball can help stretch the tendons.  If it’s painful all the time, go and see a physio or sports injury specialist.  Recovery can be slow, anything from 3-6 months.  Worst case scenario you’ll have to take a full break from running and head to the pool instead.  Avoid flip flops for the foreseeable future…

Return to training – ensure you have lots of stretching and strengthening of the muscles around your foot and calves incorporated into your training.  Work on your core strength and make sure your trainers are a good fit, perhaps even with a custom orthotic.  

Shin Splints

The term actually encapsulates numerous shin issues and is again very common amongst new runners.

Symptoms – painful and tender shins when running, sometimes disappears a few miles in for less severe cases, growing to searing pain in the more severe cases.  Pain can appear on either the front side of the leg below the knee or the inside.  If it’s very painful to touch a specific spot on your shin, you should see a doctor in case it’s a fracture.

Problem – the muscles in your shin have become inflamed

Cause – usually this comes down to a case of too much, too soon!  New runners in particular are at risk as their lower legs muscles struggle to adjust to the increase of use, mileage and addition of hills or speed training.  Other causes include the wrong trainers, running on hard surfaces and tight muscles.

Treatment – depending on the severity you may need to avoid running for a couple of weeks and see a physio.  For less serious cases, rest, elevate your legs as much as possible, ice (bag of frozen peas) the fronts of your legs, compression bandages and use a foam roller.  

Return to training – build up very slowly and adopt the 10% rule – add no more than 10% distance each week.  Try running on softer surfaces such as trails to ease the pressure on your lower legs and make sure your trainers aren’t worn out.  As always, keep stretching!

ITBS

The iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that runs from your knee to your hip.

Symptoms – usually manifests itself as a stabbing pain on the outside of your knee when you run, in particular when you’re running downhill.

Problem – your IT band has become inflamed.

Cause – there can be various culprits at play with this injury, including overpronation, hill running, week hip abductors and glutes.  The band becomes more and more inflamed until running becomes extremely painful.  

Treatment – if you notice the pain in your knee but it’s not extreme, take some rest days and/or reduce your miles.  Use a foam roller on the affected spot, massage the quads and hamstring muscles, along with regular icing.  If it’s very painful then it’s worth going to see a physio who can help loosen the area up and provide you with a plan to help prevent this from happening again.  

Return to training –  keep using the foam rollers, before and after running.  Work on strengthening your hip abductors, quads, hamstrings and glutes.  Keep the hilly mileage down until you are fighting fit..

With most of these injuries there is often a common theme – increasing mileage too quickly, not enough stretching, worn out shoes or lack of strength training incorporated into your weekly plans.  I have been guilty of many of these and it resulted in both ITB syndrome and shin splints when training for my first marathon.  Fortunately I had a good physio who I saw regularly and helped both alleviate the symptoms and provide advice on how to avoid future recurrences.  

If you’re training for a race it can be incredibly frustrating to have to take time out with an injury, however it’s absolutely worth doing it to prevent a niggling pain from becoming a debilitating one.  If you need to stop running for a few days, you can still head to the pool or incorporate some elliptical training to maintain your fitness levels whilst you recover.

Run Reigate’s partner, Parkview Clinic offer services in physiotherapy, osteopathy and sports injury and are well worth a visit if you are having any aches and pains.  They are currently offering 10% off for all new consultations.

Parkview Clinic, 22 Dovers Green Rd, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 8BS – 01737 247 555  www.parkviewclinic.co.uk

 

 

Dave Kelly & Daren Elliott

DAREN ELLIOTT – RUNNING COACH & BRIGHTON MARATHON PACER


Run Reigate is well and truly up and running!

Well I have spent the morning with David Kelly the Race Director of the Reigate Half Marathon, 10K and New Kids Race.

With 8am on a Wednesday morning in July planned for our meeting in Reigate’s Priory Park I jog over to our meeting place and shake the hand of the person I have arranged to meet, smiles all round.

About me, well nothing out of the ordinary really. I have been a runner for many years, I have coached athletics and running with my local Athletics club, tried my hand at pace making over half Marathon and Marathon distance and am an Ambassador with the Brighton based Run Brighton Group.

So the meeting was about the purposed route change or tweak of the hilly section in the last couple of miles of the Reigate Half Marathon, the hilly section in question had received a bit of negative feedback and when brought to David’s attention to his credit he set out to do something about this.

How is it that you can run with a person you have just met and you can feel totally at ease, the conversation flows and the miles slip by, yet stand in a lift or on a train and there is complete silence.

Well, David introduced me to the Reigate 10k course which has a cracking first fast section and ample room to stretch your legs if you’re looking for a fast time, then we had reached the tweaked and improved section of the Reigate Half, yes it’s still a hill but nowhere near the incline from last September. In fact it was a very nice and shady climb not too heavy on the legs or lungs at all.

Within no time at all we were at the top of the now “not so hilly section” and were turning the corner to the side entrance of the Majestic Priory Park, this is where it all happens, this is when you know you have almost completed a half marathon because on the day you will be greeted by hundreds of cheering people all urging you on the last few balloon and ticker tape filled yards to the finish line.

Well we talked and ran, David told me about a fantastic new children’s race which is also taking place and will help to get kids fit and have fun…………Yes I had a very pleasant morning starting out running with a stranger and finishing with a friend.

Daren Elliott, Husband, Father, Runner…………in that order!

Running Apps

Are You ‘App’y Now?


In the old days people used to pop their trainers on, limber up and head out for a run they’d mapped out.  Many people, like me, will have accidentally run a few extra miles or have included some accidental fartlek training whilst being lost in a dodgy estate with a group of youths watching on in amusement.  Now we have technology.  Clever apps and watches that can track your route through GPS, telling you how fast, far and high you’ve climbed at each mile and offer you coaching advice whilst you do it. We’ve compiled a list of some running apps on the market and what they can do for you: including building post-apocalyptic communities.

 

New Runner

For those of you who are new to running, there are some great apps that take you from zero to hero.  5K Runner and Couch to 10K, respectively provide 8 and 14 week plans, blending running with walking to help you build up to your first race.  They have integrated Facebook and Twitter communities so you can meet fellow beginners, share your experiences and motivate each other in the first few tough weeks.

In Your Stride is designed to help you prepare for a race.  It creates a training plan based on your current fitness, event distance and target time.  It also adapts as you progress through the plan depending on whether you are exceeding or not meeting your targets.

 

Experienced Runner

If you are looking for state of the art, there are some great options on the market many of which have features such as GPS, speed and elevation tracking, heart rate monitors, time pacing, friend racing, disco options…  

On Nike+ & Nike Coach it’s easy to see your pace variation throughout and it is compatible with various running watches, meaning you don’t need to take a phone out with you, just synchronise when you get home.  

Map My Run and Runtastic are very similar apps as they both owned by Under Armour.  Runtastic is Google Play’s editor’s choice and features a real voice coach whilst running, personal workout diary, custom made dashboard and training plans.

 

Community Focused

Strava, originally for cyclists, is now a favourite of runners too, winning the best app at the 2016 Running Awards.  It’s well known for its community feel, as you can join existing challenges and compare your stats with your friends.  It also has personalised coaching, live performance feedback and detailed analysis post run.

RunKeeper has 45 million users worldwide and all the features you would expect.  It’s intuitive, requiring you to input your goals, whether it be to build fitness/stamina, lose weight or increase your speed.  Renowned running coaches then provide advice on how to achieve these goals.  Links with big brands means potential to win kit too – who doesn’t want a free pair of trainers?  

 

Bored Runner

Zombies, Run!  Am I the only person who had never heard of this app.  Running missions whilst fleeing groaning zombies.  You are always the hero, the faster you run the quieter they become: slow down and you’ll hear them breathing down your neck.  As you run you collect virtual supplies which can then be used at home to build your own post apocalyptic community.  The audio drama feeds in between your own playlist.  That’s a whole new kind of fartlek training.  Imagine the variations you could have: whinging kids, your in-laws, that terrible one-night stand…

If you don’t believe us, check it out here.   You have been warned…

Spotify has introduced a running feature where it reacts to you, matching the speed of your pace to a beat tempo.  Rock My Run also matches your movement to the music it selects for you and has some great playlists to keep you motivated on those longer runs.

So which one are you going to chose to help your Run Reigate half-marathon/10K training?    If you see any of the team sprinting through Reigate High Street screaming that there are zombies chasing them, don’t panic … yet!


  

Run Reigate Flags

“I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul”


What does it take to become a ‘Marathon Man’?  And no, I don’t mean Dustin Hoffman enduring some rogue dentistry.  Just as some of us mere mortals work up to running our first 10K, half or full marathon, Rob Young and Eddie Izzard have completed amazing mental and physical feats that take endurance running to a new elevation, earning themselves the title of Marathon Man.

Extreme races are springing up all over the world, as some runners look for the next level of fortitude.  The legendary Marathon Des Sables started on Friday, in its 28th year and is according to many “The Toughest Race on Earth”.  It’s an ultra, run over 6 days on a course of around 150 miles, in nearly 50C degree heat. The website claims, “Any idiot can run an Ultra marathon, but it takes a special kind of idiot to run the Marathon Des Sables”.  The athletes who run these distances are able to tap into an inner tenacity, that many of us don’t feel we have.

Rob Young had that inner belief.  He also had a very unusual start.  After watching the London Marathon in 2014, his girlfriend bet him 20p that he couldn’t run 26.2 miles.  With an offer like that, what Scot could say no (as a fellow Scot, I am allowed to make that joke).  So Rob got up early the next morning and ran a marathon before work.  He didn’t stop there though – Rob then ran marathons or ultras consecutively for 420 days, covering the same distance as 476 marathons and 11,700 miles in one year.  He won 96 of the races and set some world records on the way.  In January 2015, he set off on a 3,100 mile race across America from LA to Washington DC, which he won by 30 hours, even though in the middle of it he flew back to compete in the London Marathon, an homage to the start of his personal journey.    

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Although Rob had been an athlete when he was young, competing for GB as a triathlete in the 20-24 age group, he hadn’t been running regularly before commencing this amazing feat.  Rob has carried on competing in marathons and ultras.  Studies have shown that his ability to run marathon day after day is extraordinary and that his pain threshold must be very high.  However, athleticism and the ability to tolerate pain do not necessarily make an extreme athlete and he has created purpose from his running that drives him on.  He has raised thousands of pounds for worthy charities that support kids.  He’s a man who clearly believes you are master of your own destiny, deciding to push himself to unparalleled goals and smashing them.    

‘Marathon Men’ don’t have to be athletes.  Eddie Izzard is a hero in our house, ever since my brother introduced me to the ‘Definite Article’ when I was a student.  I know he’s a man of mind over matter.  He has chosen to perform his shows in French, German, Spanish, Russian and Arabic, languages he didn’t even speak, just to challenge himself.  He took this fabulous mindset to endurance running, when in the UK in 2009 and with only 5 weeks training he ran 43 marathons in 51 days, covering 1,100 miles for Sports Relief.  After a foiled attempt in 2012, due to serious medical issues, to run 27 marathons in 27 days in honour of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island, Eddie came back in 2016 to complete the challenge.  For many people, the weight of such a massive previous disappointment might pull them down, but determinedly he forced his way through, promising to himself and the millions of viewers following him that he would run, walk or crawl his way through the blazing 30C degree heat to complete the challenge and help raise over £2 million for Sports Relief.  In his BBC3 documentary, he reads William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’, a poem that inspired the resilience of Nelson Mandela and clearly at times a mantra for Eddie has he fought his way along mile after mile.  Not a natural athlete, but a man whose mental strength allows him to achieve amazing physical feats.  His great recovery tips of how you can have a beer after a marathon as it has carbohydrates and water in it, show he is a man after my own heart.  Yes, I do love him!

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Being a ‘Marathon Man’ is not about gender.  Let us not forget some of the amazing women who have also been an inspiration to us and no, I’m not talking about myself here.  Apparently women in general are 3 x more likely to complete an ultra than men, not because of fitness, but rather because they are less likely to give up.  Ellie Greenwood is a two-time 100K World Champion and holds course records for a variety of ultra races.   She was the first Britain to win South Africa’s 90 km Comrades Marathon (the oldest ultra-marathon in the world)  in 2014, with a time of 6 hours and 18 minutes.  That’s averaging at 14.3 km per hour in sweltering heat.  We also of course have the wonderful Paula Radcliffe, a marathon legend who retired last year, still holding the women’s world marathon record which she made after just a year of marathon running.  She holds 9 other world records and has asthma!  These ladies have given their all.

When I trained for my first marathon a few years ago, I was dreading my big training runs.  The day I ran 20 miles, it was blowing a gale, snowing with sub-zero conditions.  I had to stop various times (which was the first time that had happened in a training run) and came home with a frozen mono-brow and zero belief that I could run 26.2 miles.  Then the weather turned and I galloped round my next long training run, feeling invincible (clearly this was only in my head and I have no doubt that I was actually shuffling along, being overtaken by sprightly pensioners).  Finishing the race a few weeks later, was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I’m not really a runner, but I had said I was going to do it, people had sponsored me, I was being tracked, pac-man style round the route and I didn’t want to let myself down – so I did it!  I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul…

These Marathon Men are amazing and so are you.  The first step on any journey is deciding you’re going to do it.  So go on, sign up at www.runreigate.com and we’ll be there to cheer you on every step of the way.

 

Invictus, William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Shireen Bailey

Good luck to you all


It’s less than a week now which means all the hard training has been done (and if it hasn’t don’t try doing it this week!) It’s an easy week where rest and just a few easy runs are the best thing. Read More