Can we really get through running injuries or is it inevitable? Running is one of the sports with the greatest potential for injury, we can't hide it. From one study to another the figures differ greatly but most agree that 30 to 50% of runners are bothered by an injury every year. 1] Between one runner out of two and one runner out of three, which is to say that it's huge!
Why are there so many running injuries?
And it's not really surprising because the repeated shocks to the ground with each stride are traumatic for the body. But when you say that, you're a fatalist, you imagine you're going to get hurt running! However, I have personally managed to get through the wounds for several years now, whereas before I collected them!
How do I do that? In fact, there are just a few rules that, when put together, will dramatically reduce the risk of injury. And it's not very complicated, you'll see!
The main cause of running injuries
What are the reasons behind running injuries? And how can we avoid them? Everything is ultimately related to the amount of stress you put on your body. Because running, whatever the pace, is to generate stress on the body. Stress that will accumulate step by step.
And you know it well to experience it in life, when you generate too much stress, it no longer works. When we are too stressed we lose our means, our body is just not able to function normally anymore.
When running, it can result in fatigue but it can also result in injury if the excess stress is applied to a particular area... And that's often what happens!
The problem often comes from imbalances or weaknesses in certain parts of the body that will then be subjected to greater stress... and let us go before the others. That's why when you've injured yourself in a place, taking a rest and going back to work as if nothing had happened is not enough. But we're coming back to that!
Too much stress = High risk of injury
In fact, as long as you sail between the green and red lines, everything is fine. We train, we recover and we progress thanks to that. If you take the time to recover properly, the next time you train, the stress is reduced enough so that you can train without worries.
Problems come when you don't recover enough or when you do a series of training sessions that generate a lot of mechanical stress. Now, we'll easily cross the red line... And if that's not a guarantee of injury, we're still taking a big risk!
How to find the limit of "too much stress"?
You're going to tell me that my graph doesn't have a scale... And that's normal! First, because these data will be able to evolve over time. The more experience we have, the stronger our body will be and the more stress we will be able to increase.
Indeed, the body gradually adapts to running by strengthening itself to make running more and more natural. Thus our minimum and maximum stress limits will gradually increase. This explains why, over time, if we keep the same number of training sessions, the same intensity... we no longer progress.
Secondly, these values are very individual. Two beginners in running can have a very different tolerance to mechanical stress! For some, 2 training sessions per week will make them brush against their maximum while others could start 4 times a week without any worries! And the problem is that only experiments make it possible to define this, it is often when we get hurt that we understand where our limit is...
The human body is not a machine!
Finally, there is a fundamental point to consider in understanding what mechanical stress is and why it is more or less easy to get hurt. The problem with the human body is that it is not a machine. It does not develop in a perfect way. We all have small imbalances and a morphology that can lead to problems. And I'm not even talking about our daily activities that make things worse, sitting around all day is the best example.
For example, most of us have one leg longer than the other. And this is only one of the many factors that can influence the way you run... and generate greater mechanical stress on a particular structure.
A simple imbalance can cause running injuries....
Basically, we can apply quite normal mechanical stress to 99% of our body's structures. But an imbalance somewhere will require that another part of the body compensate for this imbalance and thus see its own mechanical stress multiplied... And it is this part of the body that will be injured.
In fact, it's important to remember that avoiding injuries is just like life. Everything is fine... until we get past the level of stress we can handle and then nothing goes wrong. As soon as you have a feeling of great fatigue, unusual pain, you have to treat it before it turns into an injury.
Treating does not necessarily mean stopping running, it means trying to understand the cause of the pain. What has changed recently that may have caused additional stress? Sportively, but perhaps also professionally? Have you had a different or slightly harder training than before? Or added an outing to your weekly program? It can also be a change of training ground that leads to running injuries....
Understand how to avoid running injuries
My goal is to help you avoid injuries by knowing what will push them away. Because we have a lot of possibilities to anticipate problems and avoid injuries. I have given you some ideas with the above questions. But I have more than that. With a concrete article on the subject of injuries. I give you my 8 tips to avoid injury! The ones I use on a daily basis and which have allowed me to stop hurting myself in recent years! Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter so you don't miss the publication of my future articles on the subject!
In the meantime, as always, if I haven't been clear about something or if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!