Let’s Talk Running: London Marathon
Written by Physio, Waqaar Salim.
As about 50,000 runners are in the final stages of training for the London Marathon, let’s discuss the great benefits of running, common injuries, and ways we can better manage our risk for such injuries by following some basic advice and rules.
Running is one of the most convenient forms of exercise that exists. Equipment required: a pair of running shoes. Done!
Running helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, strengthen the heart and blood vessels and improve the flow of oxygen around the body. All the above effects can help us live longer which in essence is the benefit of enhancing our cardiac health.
Running can help us manage our weight which in turn can reduce our risk from certain cancers and diabetes.
Running can control stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Exercise also increases concentrations of a chemical that helps moderate the brain’s response to stress.
Weightbearing exercise such as running will improve bone density which reduces our risk of fractures especially later in life.
The most common running injuries tend to be due to overload or overuse. This includes shin splints, muscle strains, tendon problems (esp. Achilles), plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and Runner’s Knee. Other issues can include low back pain, and injuries following falls.
There are specific actions that can significantly reduce our risk for many of the above injuries:
Avoid increasing speed, distance or frequency too quickly. Our tissues will adapt to changing loads but they require progressive rather than sudden changes to allow the necessary time to be ready for additional load. Also that time period increases as we age. Think (if your age allows!) of our ability to recover from stresses on our body in our 20s vs 40s and 50s.
On this same theme; if we have not run before we should strictly adhere to the above rules.
Couch to 5k
Using the couch to 5k running program is an excellent way to get into running and actually can be adapted to help return to running after an injury. Click here for a link to the program.
Having a strong infrastructure can help manage our injury risk. There are certain muscle groups that can often be underutilised despite their importance. Focusing on increasing our hip strength builds a strong foundation and helps better manage loads lower down our leg.
Here are a few simple exercises that will help improve your hip strength. Click to view a demonstration video.
Single Leg Bridges (Harder)
Start with 10 each and work up to 2-3 x 10 gradually.
Enjoy your journey into running and if despite the above advice you do suffer an injury, we here at Bevan Wilson have Physios expertly equipped to diagnose your problem and help you back to health.