10 Golden Rules of Training:
# 1 Your body will Adapt – Be Gradual
The human body will adapt as long as the applied load is not greater than the body’s capacity to adapt. Overuse injuries are caused by an overload of the body’s anatomical structures (bones, tendons, muscles) Every new stimulus must be integrated progressively (distance, hills, volume, intensity, surfaces, shoes….)
#2 Keep it Simple – Get back to Nature
Be careful not to complicate or “over-medicalize” your condition. Avoid repeated treatment without progress. Avoid surgery if possible. Do not choose orthotics as a first option. Use a simple running shoe……very flat, allowing for sensation from the ground. Transition to a flat shoe gradually to allow for adaptation.
*In our commercial society, we tend to medicalize and over treat with over-cushioned/supported running shoes, robbing our body of the opportunity to strengthen and adapt to the present need.
#3 Natural Surface Variety
Flat surfaces (road, track, treadmill) are very regular and make every stride mechanically identical to the last. On these surfaces, a biomechanical flaw will be repeated over and over, increasing the chances of overuse injuries. The best surface is cross-country or trail running. Firm and irregular, these surfaces allow for a wide variety of movement and therefore a mechanical load that is properly distributed on the lower body.
*Running on a variety of surfaces (road & trail) promotes intelligent muscle responses and can prevent repetitive movements and potential bio-mechanical strain.
#4 Warm-up: Be Gradual and Specific
To get ready for a work out, you should increase your body temperature by a progressive walk or slow run (10-15 minutes) followed by a gradual increase in pace
*Warm-ups should be about increasing your body temperature, blood flow and preparing your structures for motion and impact.
#5. Stretching: Yes and NO
Pre-workout stretching should Not be done! IF running biomechanics are compromised by tight muscles- increasing the risk of injury, then some dynamic stretching may be done After your warm-up or run.
#6 Rhythm is the Key
To minimize the ground reaction force, energy loss and injuries while maximizing stride efficiency, keep your stride rate over 175 strides/min. Quality workouts (intervals and race pacing) should be done between 180 and 185 strides/min
#7 Naturally Strong
Barefoot-like running or walking as often as possible, is an excellent way to strengthen muscles and tendons that are responsible of the body’s natural absorption mechanisms. Specific stabilization, proprioception and strengthening programs are also good ways to prevent injury.
Barefoot-like running, although mechanically preferable, also requires adaptation and should be introduced gradually with proper instruction.
A Running Form Analysis is a great tool to assess the biomechanics of your running, to improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
#8 Train at least 4-6 times per week with short workouts
Increase the number of easy training sessions. This is where adaptation happens. Intensity and speed can only be built on a solid base. Alternate “Adaptive” (easy) and “Intensity” (harder) runs
#9 Nutrition and Psychology
We are what we eat…. literally! Quality, variety and balance are the most important when speaking of an athlete’s diet. Maximize fats and minimize carbohydrates.
Having fun, a positive attitude and healthy life habits all have direct influences on the body and injuries
#10 Surround yourself with the Right People for medical treatment of training injuries, training programs and shoe advice.
Proper medical and coaching supervision for all runners, whether high performance or recreational must be done by qualified competent and understanding professionals. For this reason, a runner should not accept final recommendations from a professional (Physiotherapist, MD, Chiropractor…..) that is not a runner him/herself.
Adapted from TheRunningClinic.com