5 reasons niggles might be affecting your runs
Are you a runner who experiences niggles when you start training for a race? Perhaps you have a niggle that plagues you every time you try to increase your distance or push the pace?
This list of five reasons niggles may be affecting your runs will help you make easy tweaks to your training to help you run niggle free.
Too much too soon
If you are training for a race and you have a PB in mind, you might start to up the miles and up the pace and up the number of days you run.
Afterall, more is better right?
Well, not so much. Upping everything at the same time creates the perfect conditions for niggles and even injury. It is far better to follow the FITT principle and only increase either the frequency, the intensity or the time you are running for.
That way your body has time to adapt and recover from the changes, rather than overloading your muscles and joints with no room for adaptation.
You don’t warm up
I know, you don’t have time, you just want to run.
But a warm up is just what you need to keep those niggles at bay.
Warm ups help to gently raise your heart rate and prepare your body for the activity ahead. It tells your body to start sending more oxygen rich blood to the muscles, and increases the synovial fluid and thickens the articular cartilages in your joints which help to protect your knees, hips and ankles.
Spending 5 to 10 minutes on a warm up shouldn’t be seen as eating into your running time. Rather, it should be seen as something that will help you run to your full potential.
And if you’re not sure what to do check out my short warm up.
You don’t strength train
Running is a high impact activity. Which means you need to be strong enough to keep your balance, keep upright and keep going!
If your muscles aren’t strong enough you can start to get those niggles in your hips, in your knees and in your ankles. Even more so if you have a weakness in one side, which many of us do.
Strength training for runners needn’t be about lifting heavy weights at the gym for hours on end. A good routine for runners can just involve bodyweight exercises.
Whether you use weights or not, runners should include single leg, balance, glute and core work. All the things that will keep you moving forward and keep those niggles at bay.
Your mobility is limited
Think about how you run. Does it feel fluid, do you feel ease? Or do you feel restricted as you stride forward, and have stiffness in your joints?
Mobility work is often neglected, but it can be the key to improving your running technique as it increases your range of motion and allows your joints to move more freely. Which means you can run more efficiently and without restrictions.
But this mobility work shouldn’t be just about the lower body. How much movement you have through your spine and shoulders can also affect how you run. If you’re unconvinced, next time you are out for a run try running with your arms by your side. Not so easy is it!
You need more balance
Running is a single leg sport. And if you don’t have good balance you can find yourself wobbling each time you set your foot down. Which can lead to niggles in the ankle, knee and hip.
Think about how many steps you take each time you run, how much work your ankles, knees, hips and glutes need to do to stabilise you to make sure you don’t fall over.
An easy way to work on your balance is to stand on one leg and time how long you can keep upright without putting your foot down. If you can balance for longer than 30 seconds on each leg, then close your eyes and see if you can keep your foot off the floor for as long.
And if you want more ideas for stopping those niggles then do get in touch. My HCR® Fit to Run programme or my coaching may just be the thing you need to help you run strong and niggle free.
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