Run to get fit or get fit to run??
As the title states, should we run to get fit or get fit to run?
It's not normally appreciated but before you start running you need to ask yourself - Am I fit enough to run?
I'm not sure where this started but people seem to think that running is something to be used to get fit. "I’ll run to get back my fitness, I’ll run to increase my leg strength, I’ll run to help me lose weight."
Yes these all might be applicable and work, sometimes.; but often you will end up with an injury.
You might think you can run because as a child you ran lots, this may be so, but if you don't maintain the ability and strength, you will lose it and have to regain the right to run.
Has it never occurred to people that running is a high load activity? The muscle strength, endurance and coordination required to run is exceptional. That’s why it’s so good for you; and why there is a risk of injury if you are unprepared.
As above from Tom Goom - The Running Physio shows that walking alone results in forces .5 x body weight going through the knee joint with running resulting in 4.5-7.6 x body weight. These forces aren’t anything to be overly concerned about, they won’t lead to immediate damage but like anything if you are unable to handle the stress adequately via muscles forces and correct technique; over time, long term damage can occur.
Before long term damage is done our bodies give us plenty of warning signs, like a sore patella tendon, sore hip, sore ankle or sore Achilles tendon. You name it and it is most likely your body’s way of telling you that you’re not ready to run like you are.
So how can I help.
Below I have some baseline tests. If you cannot complete these than you shouldn’t be running; or at least not long distances as your sole mode of exercise. You need to work on your strength and endurance which will improve your running and reduce your risk of injury. Smart loading and progression is always a key aspect to injury management.
Here we go. Let’s see how you do.
1. Single leg heel raises > 30 reps per leg
2. Single leg squats > 25 per leg to 90 degrees
3. Single leg hamstring focused hip bridge > 15 per leg
4. Side bridge hip abductor focus (stage 1) > 30 sec hold
Remember there are always other factors to injuries and you may need more specific exercises or more challenging ones. The above exercises are, from my experience the minimum requirement, if everyone who ran could do these and had this level of muscle function then I would see a lot less injuries.
Give them a go. If you can’t do them, practice until you can and this will go a long way to improve your running and reduce injuries.
Let me know how you go.