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The 5 biggest mistakes runners make that lead to injury and poor performance!

AND what you can do about it!

Written by Ryan Kennedy our sports and lower limb podiatrist.

If you have just started running to get fit for the new year, congratulations,  you have taken the first step into improving your health and wellbeing for the long-haul.  That is if you keep at it.

Because running is free convenient and you don’t need any equipment it’s a popular choice for the people to take up in the new year.  

Most people just chuck on an old pair of trainers walk out the front door and start running.  This is part of the simple beauty and attraction of running but also can be one of the biggest barriers to you maintaining your enthusiasm to get healthy throughout 2020.

It is common among most inexperienced runners that within the first 6-8 weeks of training an injury will occur, and the chances rise if you have suffered a previous injury or are carrying an injury at the present time.

With all the new year’s resolutions brings a slew of injuries to be treated at private clinics around the country. What a lot of people don’t realise is that you can help prevent these injuries from happening by avoiding these 5 mistakes that lead to injury.

So, what can you do to help prevent injury and keep yourself running?

1. Incorrect Footwear 

The best running shoes are shoes that are comfortable and gentle on your feet when you are running. The way your feet feel after any running is a good indication of whether you are in the right shoe or not. 

Correct footwear for your activity

The common mistake most people make when they start running is they will either use an old pair of runners that have been collecting dust over the past few years or wearing a shoe that is not designed for running exercise (e.g. Basketball/Netball shoes). 

Sock selection can also play a major role in reducing friction on the skin when running, avoid COTTON socks at all costs!

Benefits of a proper shoe:

Choosing the proper shoe can help protect you against common injuries (ankle sprains, bunions, corns, fractures, etc.) associated with your workout type. 

Having correct footwear can decrease impact forces on the lower limb through cushioning and support. 

Now picking the right shoe is more of an art than a science, this is because each runner is unique in how they train and what their running style looks like. The best running shoes depend entirely on the shape of your foot and your bio-mechanics, so if you are experimenting on which shoe you like the best you’re not alone. 

As a podiatrist, we can help guide you into an advised footwear design but at the end of the day it comes down to what works for you! 

Replacing shoes

Running shoes can be an expensive investment, but having worn out runners will also increase your chance of injury. Running shoe life cycles should be measured not in time but in distance traveled. The ideal distance to start looking at replacing your shoes would be between 550 – 800 kilometers, this roughly equates to running 10.5km a week for a year before your shoes will need replacing. Of course, there are other factors that can influence shoe longevity e.g. environment in which you run (road, treadmill, grass, track), biomechanics, body weight, footwear brand. A quick tip is to check the bottom of your shoes and if the sole of the shoe has worn at all it is most likely time to replace your shoes.


2. Ignoring Muscle strength training

Strength training should be an important part of your run training and missing out on it is a common mistake made by all runners of all levels. 

The general consensus by most runners is the best way to improve your endurance is to increase the amount of aerobic exercise you are doing i.e run more. However this is generally not the case, of course, there are benefits to increasing run time but strengthening muscle groups like your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes will not only improve endurance but will improve your distance and time.

The loads that are put on our body drastically increase when we run with up to 8 times our body weight being put through our calves on each stride! 

With the loads being this high you can see why strength or lack of strength is a major factor when it comes to running and injury. Ideally, beginner to intermediate runners should be putting aside 2 training days to help increase strength alone. 

Here at Premier, we use the same muscle testing technology that Elite athletes and professional sporting clubs use – the AXIT Performance System. This system allows us to measure every part and movement of the human body that highlights any asymmetric weakness (when one side is weaker than the other).

By identifying these imbalances it makes it possible to realign/balance the body setting you up to SMASH your 2020 exercise goals.

Call us on 9481 779

3. Not considering your running technique

It is fairly rare for runners to think about their technique before they start running, mainly because no one teaches us about technique when we start running as a child.

We just start running and from then on that is what our technique looks like.

Not too many people think to do this but next time you go to the local running track, stop for a moment and observe all the different running styles that you see.  

Even to the untrained eye, you will see some that look heavily inefficient and like the people are really struggling and then you’ll see other people that seem to be effortlessly gliding.  This is not a random individual variances. Those people that look effortless when they’re running have worked on the running technique to improve the efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.  

If you find that you’re not improving or you’re getting injured or it feels incredibly laborious during your run it may be worthwhile getting a running assessment from one of the running physios or osteos at Premier Sports Medicine.

4. Increasing Km to fast
We all get excited when we start a new endeavor and a new fitness regime is no different. However, doing too much too soon is always a recipe for disaster ranging from sore muscles that take days to recover to blisters and overuse of muscle injuries showing up 2 to 3 months later. So controlling your distance and speed and allowing adequate time to increase these is paramount.

A good guide to increasing running distance is approximately 5% – 10% per week or as your body allows you to. Some more experienced runners may increase up to 20% per week, however, these increases should be thoroughly planned out and adequate rest and recovery will be needed.

The environment in which you run in can also play a part in how much you increase distance/speed, for example, it will be easier to increase a distance of 5km on a flat running track compared to 5km on hill or terrain running. 

5. Not allowing Adequate rest & recovery

No matter what type of physical activity you are doing allowing for adequate rest and recovery boosts the results of all your hard work, and without this recovery period, you are far more likely to fall to injury.

When your body is put under physical pressure due to a hard workout, a certain amount of tissue breakdown occurs. This tissue breakdown is needed to increase strength and endurance, however, if the body is not given adequate rest or you are not fueling your body with the right nutrition to heal this tissue breaks down, any further loading on these tissue structures can snowball and result in injury.

This means you need to allow time to stretch, foam roll, eat the right foods, take rest days, etc. Sleep also plays a major part, getting 7-8 hours of sleep daily allows the body to fully heal after a hard day.  

Being mindful of these 5 commonly overlooked aspects of running you will increase your chances of being injury-free and enjoying your running experience a lot more! And if you feel like you could use some extra support give us a call on 9481 7794 or book online here!

Written by Ryan our sports and lower limb podiatrist.

Ryan’s passion for Podiatry was first ignited during his final year of high school when he suffered an ankle injury during a rugby game. Podiatry was a huge part of Ryan’s recovery, not just getting him back on the rugby field but playing better than ever before! Post this he naturally gained a keen interest and fascination in the biomechanics of the lower limb. Ryan pursued his passion studying podiatry at the Auckland University of Technology graduating in 2016.

Ryan spent his last year training under a biomechanist building on his knowledge of locomotion of the body and looking at his patients as a whole not just their foot and ankle. Allowing him to treat not just his patient’s symptoms but the underlying cause of their pain.

Ryan believes in his patients having an active and motivated roll in their recovery to help them achieve their health and well-being goals.



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