There’s a misconception that effort equals pain, but sustainable running shouldn’t leave you wincing at every stride

Running is a great way to increase our wellbeing and overall fitness. But what happens when running starts to hurt? While very experienced athletes may be able to intuit whether to ‘run through’ a niggle or not, for most of us, experiencing any kind of pain while running may be cause for alarm. But does it have to be?

Few runners have ‘perfect’ form, the kind seen on Olympians and Marathon podium finishers. If you’re putting in a few modest kilometres a week, this is rarely an issue. But when you start doing higher mileage, poor running form can swiftly equal pain.

When you get any kind of injury, you need to get it assessed by a medical professional, and ideally by someone trained in sports medicine. Don’t ask strangers on the Internet, or your friend that did the Boston Marathon. Doctors know best, everything else is opinion.

The last thing a runner wants to hear when they’re injured is a blanket ‘stop running’ but a trained medical professional should be your first port of call regardless, especially if you are in any doubt as to the severity of your ‘niggle’.

If a doctor says that you need to stop, please listen. Although it can seem hugely counter-intuitive that putting a pause on activity can lead to improvement, rest has always been a crucial part of performance building, and if your body has whispered, and then shouted at you… it’s really time to listen. Tell yourself the rest will do you good in the long run.

If your medical professional says it’s ok to stay active but with some modifications, now is a great time to connect with a running coach who understands biomechanics and the exact science of ‘proper’ running.

This is actually how I ended up getting a coach – my poor form as a newbie half-marathoner was causing me the same injury over and over again, but the answer in my specific case wasn’t to rest or have endless physio, it was to change the way I ran.

Recently, as a slightly more experienced runner, I undertook a 1,000km virtual race over the summer, but the increased mileage and fatigue affected my form, causing a few niggles. I was really enjoying the mental boost that running outside - even in summer gave me, and I loved checking out my pre- and post-run mood using the ASICS Mind UpLifter tool.

Luckily, with the help of my chiropractor and my running coach, I didn’t have to stop – I just worked on running with a more efficient and sustainable form.

I asked my coach, Lee Harris, a Dubai-based technical running and performance expert about this, and he says:

“One of the issues with runners is that they stop running completely when they get any kind of minor injury. They stop doing anything related to maintaining motor skill function and neuromuscular activation such as drills. If you have a minor injury, first of all find out what cardiovascular training you can do from your doctor. You can then find someone such as a coach who can help you, as long as you are cleared by your doctor to keep moving.

“You can even support your running without running! There are drills you can do to maintain key skills, coordination, timing, alignment, and stability. A coach can give you training to give you either a modified way of running, and if the injury doesn’t allow you to apply force then we can maintain motor function skills that don’t include running but use the same skillset, so you don’t lose core skills while healing.”

“Maintaining good form reduces the risk of injury. If you have your form assessed regularly, you can reduce the risk of future injuries.”

#UpliftingMinds #SoundMindSoundBody #asics #asicsfrontrunner

written by

Jola Chudy

Communications & Media Consultant from Dubai

Coach: Lee Harris - Running. Rory Buck - Triathlon

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