Friday, May 28, 2010

Running Injuries - How to Avoid Common Running Injuries Part 4

The two best predictors of injury

Only about 50% of running injuries are actually new trouble areas; the rest are recurrences of previous problems (Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 149(11), pp. 2561-2564, 1989). That brings to mind an important point: the absolute-best predictor of running injury is a prior history of injury. In other words, if you've been injured before, you're much more likely to get hurt, compared with a runner who's been trouble-free.

Pause for a moment on the point that 50% of running injuries are recurrences of prior maladies. This tells us that standard therapeutic approaches to running injuries (i.e., rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications) are effective over the short but not the long term. What's needed is a new approach in which injuries are treated not as temporary annoyances or bits of bad luck but as signs that a particular body region is not strong enough to stand up to the selected training. Once this realisation is made, injury-prone body parts can be strengthened dramatically with running-specific exercises, and the risk of a recurrence should drop.

At any rate, prior history is the best prognosticator of trouble, and the second-best predictor is probably the number of consecutive days of training you carry out (which, of course, tends to be correlated with total training volume). Consecutive days are counted as follows: If you train on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, you train on three consecutive days each week (Friday doesn't count because it has a rest day before and after it).

Reducing the number of consecutive days seems to lower the risk of injury. For example, instead of running six miles every day from Monday through Friday (five consecutive days), you could reduce your risk by completing 7.5 miles per workout, four days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, for example). Your weekly mileage would be the same in each case, but the second strategy would reduce your consecutive days from five to two, giving you much more average recovery time between sessions and a lower risk of injury (Running Research News, vol. 8(4), p. 10, 1992).

And - oh yes - some studies have shown that runners who are aggressive, tense, and compulsive have a higher risk of injury than their relaxed peers. These worried, 'Type-A' individuals also have more multiple injuries and lose twice as much training time when an injury actually occurs (Journal of Family Practice, vol. 30(4), pp. 425-429, 1990).

~excerpts from
  article by Owen Anderson

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