Authored by Rochelle Kennedy, Physiotherapist and Strength & Conditioning Consultant

With gyms closed and only five reasons to leave home, lockdown has prompted many Melbournians to dust off their running shoes and go for their first jog in a long time. While running is excellent for both your physical and mental health, we have seen an increase in the number of people requiring physiotherapy for running related injuries during the pandemic. Here are some simple things that you can do to minimise your injury risk and help you to get the most enjoyment out of your running. 

  1. Have a plan 

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Having a very basic plan such as the distance or frequency of your intended runs means that you are less likely to progress too quickly or make other erratic changes increase your risk of injury. If you need help making a basic running plan, have a chat with your physiotherapist, who can help you create a plan which is sustainable and will minimise your risk of injury. 

Melbourne CBD Physio offers Running Assessments for this exact reason. Get injury screened and have a professional look after your training progressions. 

2. Don’t go too hard too soon

We understand the enthusiasm of new runners- that runners high can be very addictive! However, going from 0 to 100 too quickly can often lead to issues. Our advice is to start with a distance that you can comfortably manage. Run smart, not hard! Start conservative and begin by limiting runs to 2-3 times per week, allowing for a day off in between. This gives your body time to adapt and recover in between runs, and will help you to extend the longevity of your running career. 

3. Avoid changing too many things at once

Your body needs time to adapt to changes in activity. Even subtle changes such as getting a new pair of running shoes or changing the terrain you are running on can make a difference. Like any good scientific experiment, limit the amount of variables you change each time you run. If you increase the duration, try to keep the intensity steady. If you start running up some hills, don’t increase your distance in the same run. 

4. Don’t forget about strength training

Strength training is the long forgotten and neglected part of a runners training program. Having adequate strength not only helps to prevent running related injuries, but will also help you to run faster and more efficiently. A good starting point is to work on a three day cycle: run, strength, rest. As you progress you can keep strength and conditioning a constant presence as you increase the amount of days you run. If you are unsure where to start, chat with your physiotherapist, who can help to design a program appropriate for your needs. 

Melbourne CBD Physio clients can access world-class Strength and Conditioning equipment, programs and support. Check out our performance options through the Keiser, AlterG and VALD testing options.

5. Listen to your body

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Just because you had a particular run in mind for that day, doesn’t mean that there won’t be days when the plan needs to be changed. Even the most elite athletes have fallback sessions if they can’t complete Plan A. This might be reducing the length, time, intensity or stopping the session completely. If you have pain that is persistent or progressively worsening, this may be a sign that you should stop and seek the advice of a physiotherapist.

About Rochelle Kennedy

Rochelle is passionate about implementing effective exercise based rehabilitation, and is currently completing a Masters degree in Strength and Conditioning. Rochelle particularly enjoys designing, tailoring and tracking individual gym, rehab and conditioning programs that directly addresses her patients’ goals. 

Rochelle consults on all musculoskeletal injuries, with a special interest in strength and conditioning and muscle/tendon injuries, particularly in the lower limb. In 2020, Rochelle commenced working with the world renowned LaTrobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, helping to create a tendon rehabilitation guide for sports medicine professionals.

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