Pro athlete and coach, Caine Warburton shares his top tips for injury free running. With over a decade of serious running under his belt, 45 podium finishes from 54 career races and current high profile sponsorships, Caine's advice is invaluable.
- Beware “Forest Gump syndrome” – We all love running but sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Going from the couch to a marathon the next day is a recipe for injury. As a guide you should look to gradually increase your running volume by approximately 10-20% at a time and only adding more once you feel comfortable with your current load.
- Strong runners are long runners – If you want to run long, fast or for many years then it would be a mistake to forsake strength training. Strength training is a key component to injury-proofing your body by increasing muscle density and strength. A strength session 1-2 times a week is all that is needed with a focus on heavyweight and compound exercises. For example 3-4 sets of 4-5 reps Back Squat, Deadlift etc.
- Eat like a professional – Good nutrition is vital to preventing injury by giving the body the building blocks (nutrition) it needs to repair muscle and adapt to training stress. A major component to nutrition is the post-run meal in which you should look to consume a 3:1 carbohydrate: protein mix (or better) within 30min of finishing training. This is the ideal timeframe where the muscles are most receptive to taking on nutrients.
- Stretch and roll away from the (injury) hole – Stretching, both dynamic (moving) and static (still) are great ways to lengthen tight muscles and help ensure balance and flexibility throughout key joints (hips, knees, ankles). The use of a roller post run is also a great way to work out tight spots and flush toxins from the muscles.
- Trust your inner self – Being in tune with your body and listening to the feedback it gives you is perhaps the most important component to injury prevention. All chronic/overuse injury’s don’t just suddenly happen, they show up weeks earlier as tight spots, unusual pains, tiredness etc, and if caught early they can be avoided by listening to your body and reacting to how you feel. My general rule is if I am still not feeling it or still have a niggle after the first 10min of any run I stop and head home for some rest. Tomorrow is always another day.