Runners generally fear getting injured. The best approach is to adopt injury prevention strategies like yoga, using a foam roller, compression tights or self-massage to reduce the likelihood of injury (or see a professional masseuse if you run longer miles and can afford this).

Last year, I suffered my first running injury due to overloading. It was eye-watering painful.

I saw physiotherapist Vaughan Craddock, a director at Sports Lab who works with elite athletes and weekend warriors. Incredibly, he helped me go from hobbling (for weeks!) to running pain-free (and able to do the Chicago Marathon just a few months later). He diagnosed my problem quickly and told me what I should do to avoid aggravating the injury.

Then he gave me clear instructions on what I could do fitness-wise to maintain my base fitness. It was reassuring to have a firm plan to help me return to running. Vaughan says seeking specialist advice is ‘empowering’. I’d agree!

To avoid ever being in my (run) shoes, here are Vaughan’s tips to avoiding injury:

  • Firstly, he recommends that you listen to your body. If you’re tired, then rest. If you miss a workout, do not rush to make it up. “This is a common mistake that people make,” he says. It can be a fast-track to injury…
  • If a niggle does not clear in 2-3 days, see a specialist. Ignoring an on-going niggle can see things escalate.
  • Vaughan recommends runners reduce any ‘stresses’ in life, hydrate and eat well, get good sleep, and make sure you get enough relaxation to recharge.
  • Stretch too, says Vaughan, “because if you feel tight, then how can you expect your body to move well”.
  • Lastly, he says: “Be positive”. This can have a ‘dramatic effect’ on healing timeframes.

 

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Rachel is a runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of lifestyle website InspiredHealth.co.nz, and follow more of her personal journey to get race-ready with her family on her Facebook & Instagram pages