Running, with all its advantages, is also a somewhat one-sided burden. Therefore, an injury can quickly occur while running. It is important that you listen to your body and act correctly when you get hurt. It is even better to integrate injury prevention exercises into your training so that you don't have to take a break from training.
For this purpose, a targeted strength training is an optimal means, which not only leads to fewer injuries, but also to a better race performance. This is due to three reasons:
- The training allows for a more powerful impression when running
- Stability in the upper body is guaranteed for a longer period
- Less rotation in the body leads to a more economical and faster run
The formula is that simple.
The 3 most common running injuries
Three of the most common running injuries are inflammation of the Achilles tendon, tibial edge syndrome - also called periostitis - and the so-called runner's knee.
Here I will explain to you briefly what the injuries are, how to prevent them and, if they do occur, how to treat them. It is clear that despite all the ambitious goals, health must always come first.
Causes for inflammation of the Achilles tendon are often incorrect or poor running technique and lack of stability in the heel. Too weak a foot musculature, too strong and fast load increase, a wrong foot position or shortened calf musculature can also be possible causes for an Achilles tendon inflammation.
Often, the Achilles tendon then thickens and hurts under pressure, which indicates an Achilles tendon inflammation. The pain can occur not only when moving, but also at rest. In the course of the inflammation, the increased blood circulation can cause redness and heat at this site.
You can remedy this by improving your running technique, for example. The choice of your running shoes can also be decisive. I can recommend a motion analysis by an expert. In this way, any incorrect positions or incorrect weight bearing can be identified.
A further measure to prevent and treat inflammation of the Achilles tendon is a targeted strength training of the shin muscles. Here you can also help yourself with fascial rolls and stretching exercises. Also integrate coordination exercises into your training to improve the load on your feet.
Tibial Edge Syndrome
The tibial edge syndrome can occur both on the front tibial edge and on the inner surface of the tibia (medial tibial edge syndrome). It is an initial irritation of the posterior tibialis and the soleus muscle due to overloading. Possible causes of the injury are old, worn running shoes, a muscular imbalance or even errors in running technique.
Cold compresses for cooling are helpful during treatment, especially at the beginning of the inflammation. If it does not get better, I can recommend physiotherapy. The therapists will show you special exercises for the treatment of the shinbone edge syndrome. As a prophylaxis I advise you to strengthen your feet. You can do this by varying your running training, especially regarding the underground and your running shoes.
Change between harder and softer surfaces in order to put more strain on the small muscles in your feet. Changing your running shoes has the same effect. If you run with a soft cushioned running shoe and a harder one, the strain on your feet is always different. This also makes them stronger.
Typical for the runner's knee is a pain on the outside of the knee joint, often accompanied by swelling. Constant bending and stretching of the knee joint can cause irritation through friction over the bony protrusion of the thigh. It is usually difficult to find the cause of this, as it can be due to many factors.
In the forefront are overloading, incorrect weight-bearing, wrong or unsuitable shoes, but also walking on edges and faulty roads. In addition, weak trunk and buttock muscles can cause the hip to bend and only be held on one side when running longer distances.
The pain often starts in the knee after a longer period of strain, but can then also occur in everyday life. The knee pain can become so severe that even simple walking becomes difficult. For this reason you should not wait too long and, if necessary, contact a doctor. In case of severe pain, you must take a break from training in any case. As a short-term solution, cooling the knee is a suitable measure. Cooling can be done with cold running water, cooling compresses, ice spray or ice cubes. Further treatment options are stretching, strengthening or kinesio tapes.
Strength training as prophylaxis for runner injuries
For the hull, classics like the Plank, Side-Plank or Situps help. For the feet I recommend exercises on unstable ground to promote intramuscular coordination. Even without a big budget, you can achieve great progress with a wobble board or e.g. standing on medicine balls.
Why strength training is important for runners and how you can train the corresponding muscle groups in a targeted manner can also be found in the Keller Sports Guide. Here you will find a complete workout for runners consisting of seven exercises, which you can easily include in your training routine.
The exercises are Lunges with High Knee, Squat Jumps, Single Leg Toe Touches, Diagonal in the quadruped, Dynamic Side-Plank, Plank with Leg Lift and Push-Ups with Plank Jump. How the exercises work, what they bring and how often you should repeat them you will find out in the workout article:
Injury prevention: the right equipment is crucial
To prevent injuries, however, the running equipment also plays a decisive role. Your running shoe should fit you perfectly and not be too old. As the number of kilometres you have run with your favourite pair of shoes increases, the cushioning and stability decreases. In order to find the right and suitable shoe, it is recommended to do a motion analysis.
However, if you do not have the opportunity for a detailed analysis, choose a shoe that is explicitly designed for stability and a secure step even during longer training sessions. I can recommend this Nike running equipment:
* The actual price may differ from the price given here. It depends on current offers and the model.