In a world where health and fitness is at the forefront of society, gyms have become the norm and an image based culture has sprouted through the means of social media, running has experienced an unrivalled rise in popularity. Screenshots of completed routes, photos of progress and images of triumphant friends at finish lines are stalwarts of our news feeds and as a result, people are obsessed with being better, fitter and healthier in this ‘running boom’. There’s no denying that donning your running shoes and clocking up the miles has infinite benefits to your body and health, however getting it right is a different story. Running comes with side effects, hazards which can come from nowhere and completely stop you in your tracks; but if you manage your body and time properly, issues can be easily avoided allowing you to tread your path to Instagram utopia each session at a time.
Your joints are volatile structures and the slightest of issues can cause you a great amount of hassle. Your knee is a complex series of tendons and ligaments holding larger and smaller bones all in place in an attempt to keep everything moving freely whilst you pick up the pace. A common cause for joint pain is the regular and continuous impact you experience when running. The issue is compounded by blemishes within your running habits; be it overuse, poor technique, improper footwear or a combination of all three.
FIX IT… EQUIP YOURSELF PROPERLY
Your first line of defence when it comes to impact is the trainers on your feet. Equipping yourself with the right gear is essential and getting a gait analysis when choosing your shoes is a must. Shoes which match your stride and counteract any anomalies in your physical make-up will reduce the strain on your joints when your foot impacts the floor. Along with your footwear protecting your joints, your stride itself is a factor; over-striding will cause your foot to strike the floor heel first which will strain your knees and ankles. To avoid this, think about shortening your stride so you strike the floor with the middle of your foot rather than your heel to help reduce impact related injuries. Managing your workload is imperative; take full advantage of your days off to give your joints a rest and work in some other exercises like cycling or swimming to reduce the impact, so that when you return to the road, you’re in top condition to keep your pace up.
Equip yourself throughout with Odlo. For women, the TARANIS Shirt Running Shirt’s seamless construction and weatherproof front panel provides ultimate comfort and unrivalled performance when you’re out treading the road. Match your shirt with SWING Running Shorts for a truly professional look to ensure you perform just as good as you’ll look and feel. Dynamic, sporty and extremely lightweight with an essential zipper pocket, there will be nothing holding you back when it comes to running performance. Manage the impact on your muscles and joints even better with MUSCLE FORCE Running Socks. The socks provide exceptional compression technology to enhance blood flow, regenerate muscles and provide support during exercise. They are an absolute essential for any budding or experienced runner. Top off your look and take on your summer running schedule in style with the FAST & LIGHT Visor Cap. Crafted to improve breathability and offer protection in all environments, it’s a necessity when it comes to summer training.
The Achilles is the strongest tendon in your body and connects your calf muscle to your heel.
It’s put under a lot of strain when you’re running. High mileage, hill sprints and speed work can all effect your Achilles, putting it under major stress which can cause the tendon to become inflamed and exceptionally sore but with careful management, can be kept in perfect condition.
FIX IT… MANAGE YOUR WORKLOAD
Obviously, you’d rather avoid the condition from developing in the first place rather than fixing it once it’s already developed. To avoid the problem, make sure you manage your workload properly and don’t increase your mileage in large steps. Increase it by smaller margins to build strength in the Achilles gradually. A common issue which results in the condition is that runners don’t engage the rest of their leg muscles, putting unnecessary strain on the Achilles. By increasing the strength in your glutes, hamstrings and quads, you will reduce the load on the Achilles by using your other muscles efficiently; if the condition develops, reduce your workload and continue to strengthen your legs and Achilles with eccentric exercises. It is also important to maintain your flexibility through the ankle joint with stretches and regular foam rolling to keep the joint mobile and the Achilles relaxed so the issue doesn’t stand in the way of your progress.
With many people’s day job now consisting of a desk, a laptop and a spinning chair, we regularly find ourselves slumped over and stiff through our upper bodies. A common misconception of both new and experienced runners is that our upper bodies are less important in improving performance. We therefore abandon these areas and end up being tight and stiff through our shoulders and arms which will slow down a run. The arms are often underestimated and are a vital part of the perfect running technique, generating momentum and tapping out a good rhythm for the rest of the body to follow. It is a common side effect of our lifestyles and running itself but one which can easily be avoided and overcome with a little concertation on posture and form.
FIX IT… GO GET STRONGER
Anddddd relax! Running when your whole body is relaxed will reduce strain in every area and trying to force a new technique that doesn’t feel comfortable will likely cause more harm than good. Your shoulders set the precedence for the rest of your body and any tension in them will feed down, impeding performance and accentuating any potential injury hotspots. Strengthening the muscles around your shoulders and neck to stabilise your upper body to keep relaxed and allow your arms to move freely will improve performance and technique and help avoid injury. The tension comes from stiffness in your shoulders and neck so it is important to stretch them regularly in order to avoid them tightening up when you’re running. Get flexible and strong to stay relaxed and fast.
Being comfortable and feeling good goes a long way to helping you be relaxed, for men, the Odlo range will achieve exactly that. Grab the KAMILERO Running Shirt and look and feel great while feeling fully protected. The modern, on-trend design and seamless construction are a fail-proof combination that make you feel relaxed whilst out on your runs making it an absolute essential for your running wardrobe. For the warmer months, stay cool with the super lightweight DAVE Running Shorts. In slick black or bold blue colourways, why not get both to match your mood when it comes to a training run? Complete your look with Odlo RUNNING Socks, a high-tech sock that is ready to take on the challenge that every stride poses. They provide exceptional comfort and perfect moisture management to the ensure you’re completely in control throughout your run.
When you overstretch or overuse a muscle, you put yourself in huge danger of pulling the muscle and putting yourself out of action for a prolonged amount of time. Any type of movement can cause a strain including jumping, sprinting or kicking. All types of more explosive movements can cause the fibres to tear in the muscle eliciting mild to intense pain. The more the muscle is worked, the chances of pulling are increased, and therefore being overworked or under-prepared will have a detrimental effect on your performance.
FIX ITPREPARE AND RECOVER LIKE A PRO
It may seem obvious, but warming-up and cooling-down before and after runs is imperative. Getting your muscles prepared for your run dramatically reduces your chances of injury. However, preparation doesn’t just start in the moments before your run. Including strengthening exercises into your programme will ensure than your muscles are up to the job of carrying you through your runs. In recent years, a real emphasis has been put on recovery after exercise too. Foam rollers are high on running’s ‘specials board’ at the moment. The benefits have been embraced and this form of self-massaging has shown to help eradicate muscle tension and increase blood flow to aid recovery. Regular foam rolling in close proximity to your runs will aid recovery and improve your muscles’ resolve to help prevent injury.
Whatever your running goal is, looking after your body is essential. Whether you’re an experienced runner, aiming to knock seconds off of your PB’s or a new runner seeking a healthier and fitter lifestyle, managing your body and reducing the impact of these side effects is an absolute must. By listening to your body and managing it properly you will ensure your progress continues in strides.