Inspired to Run – How much is too much?
I wanted to run, I made sure I had some comfortable trainers, I joined a running club, started doing Saturday park runs and I had my goal to do the Cheltenham September 2016 half marathon. Everything was travelling in the right direction. I was starting to increase my speed and distance, meeting some lovely new friends and I felt great. I was doing so well I thought that I could jump up a group or two at running club and challenge my speed a little more.
After a really challenging run to try and keep up with some of my new friends I felt a niggle in my shin. Like so many people I thought ‘ah, it’s only a niggle, it won’t be much’ and so I ignored it and carried on running. Suddenly my niggle became really sore even with walking. I had developed pain along my shin bone, often known as shin splints. Disastrous! There would be no more running for me for a bit. I had to treat these shin splints with rest, ice, soft tissue massage, identify the cause and treat the cause.
Almost every runner at some stage will develop an injury especially initially when you are starting off or aiming for a new challenge. Almost every runner will at some stage need a physiotherapist to set them right!
A common cause of injury is over training or increasing speed or distance to quickly. It is so important not to over train but how much is too much?
Questions to ask yourself are:
Are you running the same pace all of the time?
Are you inconsistent with your training?
Are you not following a progressive training program?
Are you a one speed runner?
If you answered yes to all of the questions above, consider running slower at a comfortable pace most of the time, and only once a week push yourself with a hill rep, short sprint or intervals session. Over training is if every run is hard!
Research has shown that running at the same medium speed all of the time (so at a good stead hard run) can overload your joints and soft tissues. Always training at middle ground can leave you being fatigued more often and inhibit the immune system to fighting fatigue.
Instead, it is thought that training at 80% lower aerobic zone (where you can say the alphabet easily without hyperventilating) and then doing 20 % at anaerobic threshold or at a higher pace (where you are pushing it) is effective. This type of training doesn’t affect your immune system so much and is less related to injuries (Rich Willy 2016).
If in any doubt or niggle, come and see a physio. Don’t put it off.
Enjoy your running Journey!
Dr Rich Willy (2016), Physio Edge 048. Running from Injury part 1