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Can I run with pain? – Angie from Physiofit answers your questions

Physiofit’s Angie Jackson was the host of this week’s Running Bear Virtual Running Club Facebook live series of Q&A sessions. Here she shares some of the questions asked and helps runners of all standards stay injury-free.

Q: Can I run with pain?

Yes, but if the pain is greater than a 3/10 during the run, lasts longer than 60 mins after a run and is sore the next day then back off to a level that meets that criteria. If you can’t hop pain-free on one leg don’t run until you can. Swelling is also a good indicator you have done too much so back off until it settles.

Q: Do I have to rest when I have pain?

If we rest completely we get weaker and less resilient to load so it’s all about finding the sweet spot between activity and rest and recovery to suit your body. Find your baseline that keeps the pain level really low and stick at that level for a week or two to allow the tendon or bone to adapt and see if it eases.

Q: How do you tell whether it is an injury or exercise pain?

By the site of the pain – post-exercise the pain will usually be quite diffuse; in multiple muscles, not just one; will be felt in the muscle belly not usually near the site of a tendon or bone and critically eases with exercise. Pain from a muscle strain, tendon, or bone injury will be local to the site of stress.

Q: How do I prevent an injury like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinopathy when I start running?

Tendon and bone injuries usually follow a spike in training load, either adding more volume, more speed, or hills. The best way to avoid injury is to start slowly and plan your training to include rest days to give the body time to adapt to the new demands. Listen to your body, vary the running type and surface, and even having two slightly different running shoes to keep the body from getting overloaded. Use a watch or your phone to track your activity level so you work out week on week how much you are doing. Take the average volume of the last 4 weeks and add no more than 10% and less if you are tired or stressed.

Q: Is strength training important?

Stronger runners get fewer injuries and can withstand greater variation in weekly training load so it is important to build up the strength and endurance of your gluts, hip muscles, hamstrings and calf muscles with either a short little 10 minute a day circuit or an hour a week as a minimum. Make sure you include lots of single-leg work and plyometric work.

Q: Is a warm-up important?

Warming up is key to prevent injury. Avoid static stretches. After you have raised your heart rate, add resistance band work, isometric holds and some dynamic mobility drills to activate the running muscles.

Q: How should I recover?

Refuel and rehydrate the body immediately within 30 minutes to give it carbs, fluid and protein to heal, repair and strengthen your muscles. Between runs try using a foam roller to ease out stiff muscles especially if you sit all day at a desk.

Q: What’s the best mode of cross-training to use as a recovery or do I actually need rest days?

Rest days are when the body gets stronger and does its repair work so we do need sleep and rest to perform better. Cross-training helps keep the body more balanced and is useful to mix it up. I like cross trainers to open up the hips but when you have a niggle cycling can be a great replacement – if you had planned an interval running session do an interval bike session which replicates the demands of the original session.

Q: Do runners need to be flexible? To have good form we need to be able to open up our hips for a good stride length. Stretching is less effective than trying to strengthen muscles around the tight muscle. For example, tight calf or hamstring muscles are often due to weak gluts. Faster runners require some muscle stiffness for power so it’s not all about being bendy its often better to focus on being strong.

Physiofit help runners of all standards with prevention and treatment of running injuries. If you want to change your cadence, correct an overstride or develop an individual running strength programme ask us for more information about how they can help you run further and faster without pain on 01625 590444 or visit our website www.physiofit.co.uk

Join Running Bear Running Club for more superb advice from Angie (https://www.facebook.com/groups/runningbearrunningclub)

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