So many people run to get fit, but how many people get fit to run?
Being motivated is not enough, as a matter of fact sometimes it can be the mechanism for disaster. Running is a highly dynamic and stressful activity that demands a lot of the body, especially an untrained one. Jumping in without having created a solid foundation can lead to injuries, frustrations and disappointment.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re unfit, overweight or need to create a healthier lifestyle, running is exactly what you need in your life, however we want to avoid the unnecessary complications of injury or burnout.
When training, there are certain principals and concepts that are essential to making improvements and limiting setbacks. One of these concepts is the dynamic relationship of tissue load and tissue capacity. This may sound scientific but stay with me as it is important to understand this relationship, as it is essential in minimizing the possibility of new injuries and creating the environment for you to do what you love to do, RUN.
One of the most common causes of injuries is the accumulation of load on a tissue, tendon, or ligament exceeding that tissue, tendon, or ligament’s capacity. Simply put, a beginner decides to brush off the cobwebs and hit the pavement, keen to improve they overdo it and start to feel a niggle, BOOM, they have exceeding their capacity to tolerate the load imposed. This is not just unique to beginners, another example could be an intermediate level runner increasing the mileage for a longer race.
So let’s look deeper!
When looking at tissue capacity and its ability to handle load, there are two big players here.
Performing a stride repetitiously over a long period of time is essential to cover a set distance. However, tissues do not have an infinite number of contractions. Due to the nature of running the joint, tissues, muscles, and fascia used all take on wear and tear. Creating strong and resilient connective tissues is a must.
Posture & Technique
Posture and position directly affect tissue capacity. Having a compromised running technique due to the inability of some muscle groups to do the job required when running can lead to injury and a stagnation in progress. Unfortunately Modern 21st century living has evolved in such a way that our posture is becoming increasingly comprised
When the tissues cannot adapt to the stresses listed above, we often get a reactive response. This is usually expressed as swelling, tenderness, redness, inflammation, and pain.
The tissue’s capacity to accept load is dependent on multiple factors. Strength, body composition, technique, training age, flexibility, nutrition and other biomechanical factors all have roles.
A logical approach would be to increase the tissue’s ability to manage load through different strength training and conditioning variables. This creates a pathway of “getting fit” to run.
What should focus on?
The biggest area of dysfunction.
This is very much individual however in my experience weak feet, stiff ankles, shortened calves, sleepy glutes and dysfunctional midsections (just to name a few) create the most common running related injuries.
Strength!! Build resilience.
A simple home circuit of the exercise listed below could be the answer.
1. Glute Med Wall slides
2. Frog Pumps
3. Palloff press
4. Glute bridge
5. Bulgarian Split Squats
6. Toe elevated calf raises
Completing this circuit 2/3 times a week would help you get fit to fun and ensure longevity for the activity you will and have come to love.
As an additional bonus you could build the strength of your feet with simple complex of movements …