Most people these days have a runner in their life or are the runner in their life. For some people, there is no runner in their world, and I fall into that category. I’m not a runner, even though I have competed in triathlons and lots of 5k’ and 10k’s I would never call myself a runner. In fact, about 4 years ago, after reading an amazing book called, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a f**k’, I allowed myself to accept that I disliked running a lot, and that is ‘ok’! I love cycling and swimming and Pilates and watching rugby but running is not me and I’m ok with that.
By this point, you might be wondering where I’m going with this. A good question. My day job involves meeting, treating, and training many people who participate in a wide variety of activities.
From gardening to base jumping or snorkelling to running. It’s no surprise that the higher percentage of people I meet are runners and not base jumpers, but there has been one on record and surprising as it may seem I see a lot of injured gardeners too. I find myself asking the question at least twice a week, “but do you really love running?” I get a varied response to this, but usually, people I meet are hugely into their sport and they love running and can’t live without it or rather, no one would want to live with them if they couldn’t get their daily running fix in. This is great. Always do what you love I say.
Running is hugely underestimated, even by a lot of experienced runners. Did you know there’s an entire language surrounding the sport? If I asked you what a fartlek was, would you know? Or would you know, that the two most common side effects or running, outside of achieving good mental health are chaffing nipples and lost toenails! Not too sexy, am I right? There is an entire dictionary available to runners online at runnersworld.com, if you’re really interested and you’re not so much into running, but reading this article so you can talk to the runner in your life. Some of you may be surprised that there’s a runner’s world website, there’s even a running magazine! I mean how much can you read about putting one foot in front of the other at pace repeatedly, until and desired distance within a desired time is achieved? A lot it would seem! This is of course the non-runner in me talking, but as a Physical Therapist and a Pilates Instructor, I’ve learned to talk runner, and of course in my line of work its nearly always in relation to, injuries caused by or contributed to from running.
I was reading an article in the Scandinavian journal of Medicine and science in sports recently, a little light bed time stuff, you know. They conducted a study of runners to find what the most common injury was particularly regarding the lower body. The study was based around one marathon and the subjects were questioned before and after the race. 647 runners took part in the study, and 397 said they had an injury before the race. That’s 61% of the runners. You won’t win a prize for guessing but 26.7% of people surveyed had a knee injury, this was followed by 16.4% complaining of a foot injury, 14.4% a calf injury & 13.8% a thigh injury, which I would imagine is mainly hamstring problems.
It’s worth mentioning here that the study was only interested in juries below the waist. That is to say that with 58% of the Irish population suffering with chronic back pain, i.e. pain that has been present more than 3 months, it shouldn’t surprise you either that runners would have a lot of lower back problems too, this study however was only interested in the lower body. The study went on to try and assess the pain intensity felt by the participants vis a vis their injury and what percentage would choose to run regardless of an injury. Interestingly or not in my experience, of the 397 runners who admitted to having and injury before the race only 8.6% chose not to run. This means clearly that runners are either a bit nuts or completely dedicated to their sports and throw the long-term consequences to the wind!
Have I mentioned already that I’m a physical therapist and Pilates Instructor? I have dedicated most of my professional career to helping people achieve pain free functional movement, the number above is quite a number to look at, but is it a surprise to me? Absolutely not. I meet runners on a daily and if I suggest taking time off, it’s almost like telling them that the world is about to end. Sports men and women especially runners or any type of endurance athlete tend to push their bodies to the max with little regard for the long-term effect the ‘little niggle’ may be having on them. I’ve recently finished rehabilitation training with a marathon runner after a double hip replacement. He’s 42 years of age. He cycles now, and is cycling from Geneva to Rome this summer, so he had to change sport after the hips were replaced, but he still likes his sport challenges, more power to him.
So, in the language of runners, I get it. You don’t want to stop. That’s great, I understand what running and sports and exercise means to people and their mental and physical wellbeing. I get it. Lots of people don’t, but I do. I get it, but I have one point. There are lots of things you can do that will help your body recover between runs, and keep you running for the longest amount of time possible and this is true for any endurance sport. There are always things you can do to help offset the repetitive nature of your runs, both immediately before and after your events and bigger picture stuff. Last year we wrote this article on some things to help you recover from your race, do some stretches, drink lots of water, I even suggested having a beer as part of your post-race recovery. It’s proven to be very effective at rehydrating the body. The trick is to stop after one!
This year I thought I’d take a more hard-line approach for the runners. You must look after your ‘big picture’ health to ensure you keep running pain free for as long as you can. It will come as no surprise to you if you’ve managed to read this article all the way to the end and you’re familiar with my business in Maynooth that I’m going to suggest you try Pilates as part of that bigger picture stuff and or a trip to see one of our physical therapy team to assess a niggle you may be ignoring. I always tell people to imagine their body like they would their car. You know if you drive around on a soft tyre that the other tyres are wearing faster, that the soft tyre will eventually puncture entirely and you may end up damaging your wheel on your car or worse depending on when it pops!
Your body is the same. If you’re running with a niggle in the knee, your body is compensating in some way and you may end up doing more damage to your body elsewhere or completely banjax your knee. So, don’t let the niggle get you down. Book in and get them assessed and treated, bring this article with you or tell us when you’re booking in that you read this article and we’ll give you a 10% discount on your 1st assessment & treatment. Looking at the bigger picture stuff, keeping yourself injury free in the first place. Try one of our reformer Pilates classes. They are perfect for all fitness levels, but you won’t regret the feeling you get from minding your body. Quote this article when booking your trial class and we’ll give you the class for free! I know you’re thinking that ‘yer wan’ is touting her business to us runners to earn a few quid out of us, and you know what, you’d be right. Girls gotta eat, but I promise you, your body will thank you for minding it in this way. You’re running will improve. You’ll reduce the risk of injury. You’ll feel stretched and energised and ready to take on your next run. You’ve probably already been told by your running friend, or your physio or your doctor or physical therapist to try Pilates to help your body run better, but something has stopped you.
Now’s the time. Take action and book in. You’ve nothing to lose and a world of benefits to gain. Call us or go online to book your free trial class - 01-505-4584 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember to quote this article to avail of the 10% off your 1st Physical Therapy sessions or your free trial class.
Finally. Best of luck in the run this April 7th. I hope you all get that BP you’ve been aiming for.
Ps. Here’s what some of our dedicated clients are saying about our Pilates
As part of my marathon training, I wanted to include some strength work once a week to supplement my training. I tried the Reformer Pilates class and have found it supplements my training perfectly, giving the right mix of Core strength work without leaving me too sore or tired to run the next day. I’m 4 months in now and wouldn’t miss one of my Monday workouts. Have set PB’s for 10km & 5km’s in last 2 months so it seems to be helping.
Chris Jones, Maynooth
“I’m a regular runner and started doing Reformer Pilates in Finesse in October just gone. For a variety of reasons, lately I haven’t been running as much, but with the Pilates training I’ve found that my core feels stronger, my breathing has improved when I do get out for a run, and I’ve knocked 1 minute off my 5k PB, which I’m delighted about. I really love reformer Pilates and would recommend if to everyone.
Tanya Nevin, Maynooth.
“I’m 9 months post-natal and I’m training once again for the Dublin City Marathon in October. I’ve found that my body has recovered so well from pregnancy but also, after my Thursday class I generally go and do my long run for my training. I love my long run; my body feels so much freer and easier to move after my Pilates class. My technique has improved so much since taking up Pilates.”
Yvonne Jones, Maynooth