How to run without getting injured

Man runs, we can say, from Adam and Eve onwards. And since then we can say that he has been careful about how to avoid problems caused by injuries.

In the third century e.n. , the Athenian sophist Philostratos, in his complex treatise “Gymnastikos” (On Gymnastics), not only recounted the Greek Olympics and athletics in general but also foreshadowed modern considerations on the practice of sports prevention. A few centuries later, the doctor (in the sense of those times) Hippocrates tried to penetrate the intimacy of the phenomena that take place inside the complicated human machine, during the effort.

It can therefore be said that there is a long history of studies on the practice of physical effort, including running. All this shows that performance improves, individually from one case to another, only through a limiting psychometric activity, involving from the athlete a maximum effort of speed, strength, endurance, ability to concentrate under stress.

However, in the context of increasing intense demands, close to the functional limits of the body, the risks of injury or illness of the athlete also increase. Nobody wants that, but that’s about it.

In this case, the activity of prevention, detection of the causes and mechanisms of sports accidents appears as fundamental.

Injuries are caused by a lot of causes, starting with the type of surface on which you run, the state of the environment, the equipment, but of course also depending on age, sex or the “IQ” (read the applicability) of the training program followed.

Knowing and understanding the causes that caused the injury allows you to find the best solutions to prevent trauma.

The causes can be dependent or independent of us runners. We will try to present them briefly in the continuum

Dependent causes

1 An electrolyte imbalance of the body, through the low concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron. This imbalance is the cause of cramps, stretching or muscle tears but also the decrease in endurance.

# 2 Anatomical variations of the body, such as excessive pronation of the sole of the foot, differences in length between the lower limbs, incorrect posture in running, worn shoes. All this can cause a postural imbalance, the body seeking to restore a new center of gravity which can lead to trauma to the knee joints and spine.

3 Reduced flexibility of muscles, tendons, ligaments or joint capsules in the absence of heating. Causes muscle strains and tears.

4 Excess body weight in relation to waist (height). It causes traumas of overload and destruction of the knees and spine.

5 Age. Some examples: the resistance to muscle rupture in children is twice as high as in adults. The cardiovascular system and joint system in people over the age of 50 are also more exposed to illness or injury.

6 Sex. In general, two thirds of people with running injuries are men, although the involvement in the running phenomenon is approximately equal between the two sexes. One explanation is that men have a greater tendency to push their limits to the extreme.

7 Lack of self-control. Injuries occur when you are not focused enough on running during training or competition. But even when you are not well prepared mentally, when you do not know your limits. Remember: talent cannot replace physical training.

8 Training errors. This can mean excessive volume and intensity of running, sudden changes in training techniques, overload, improper recovery, wrong technique, inadequate heating (remember: chemical heating does not replace physical heating). All this can cause muscle trauma (cramps, stretching, ruptures) and joints (sprains).

Independent causes

1 Climatic conditions, more precisely when the sudden transition from hot to cold, or vice versa. First, keep in mind that the body’s adaptation to heat, in order to be capable of intense effort, takes about three weeks. In the cold, about a week.

High temperature leads to dehydration which will induce the body’s inability to self-regulate its temperature, thus leading to hyperthermia. In this case the functioning of the brain, the cardiovascular system are affected, which can lead to inability to continue physical exertion or loss of consciousness (even death).

Heat negatively affects the ability to run, by increasing the viscosity of the blood, thickening it, which leads to decreased ability of the blood to carry oxygen and other nutrients consumed in muscle contraction. By default, the resulting waste disposal capacity also decreases.

On the other hand, low temperature reduces muscle strength and, in the presence of high humidity, leads to decreased muscle elasticity.

2 Running surface. The quality of the type of terrain on which it runs, its hardness, elasticity, its profile but also the sudden change of the contact surface, all these can cause injuries to the joints and muscles.

3 Non-compliant equipment. Here we mention: shoes not adapted to the composition and profile of the terrain where they run (it can be asphalt, mountain area, field) that cause injuries to the knees, ankles and even the inability to complete the race. At the same time, new shoes, not tested before the competition, can cause blisters on the toes or heels, inducing a decrease in the ability to run.

4 Clothing not adapted to weather conditions. If it is hot and you are dressed too thick, the body finds it harder to eliminate perspiration and it can lead to overheating. If, on the contrary, it is cold outside and you are dressed too thin, it can lead to thermal shock, manifested by extreme weakness, headache, confusion, nausea, collapse or unconsciousness. Also pay attention to the protection of the parts of the body that lose heat most easily, namely the top of the head, the neck, the fingers, the wrist, the ankles. Their inadequate protection increases the risk of muscle cramps, leads to decreased muscle strength and frostbite.

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