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But I Run? I Don’t Have To Be Strong, Do I? | Synergy Physiotherapy

Woman running along a tree lined road

But I run? I don’t have to be strong, do I?
Running is obviously a vastly popular activity that many of us like to enjoy! At Synergy, we see runners on a daily basis who want to either improve their running performance, tackle an injury that is stopping their running or maybe want to reduce their risk of future injuries.

In all of the scenarios above, there will almost always be a multifactorial approach to combat the issue. However, you runners (more often than not) inherently love to run…..and not a lot else! This means that your training is likely to consist of running, running and more running. This running is often at a set slower pace for long durations. As a result, your body is continually being put under unvaried stresses! Can you see where this is going?

Overuse Injuries
Running injuries are very common. Some figures suggest that runners are up to 70% likely to pick up an injury within a twelve month period! And guess what the common cause is? Too much running and not doing much else! Too much running results in your body’s tissue becoming grumpy as a result of the repeated load being placed upon it. Sounds a bit daunting doesn’t it? Well don’t worry…there are numerous ways in which we can help reduce the risk of this occurring and you should most definitely not be afraid about being a keen runner.

Notice that the word load has been highlighted in the previous paragraph? This is to help you understand why strength training is very important for you to cope with the load. Let’s use your knee joint for an example. Your knee joint quite likes moving in a straight line when running, but doesn’t tend to like excessive twisting movements. If you were to go out running and continuously allow the knee to twist and turn without the support of your lower limb muscles being strong and controlled enough to help, you can see how this uncontrolled movement may result in irritation, right?

So what can you do? Well, the real way of preventing or fixing injuries is multi-fold and you would be best advised to see a specialist, maybe a running coach and rehab specialist here at Synergy! But a great way to start prevention is by improving the ability to tolerate load via a strength training programme! In fact, a recent research study suggested that strength training helped reduce the risk of sporting injuries by half!

The strengthening exercises you should do should perform should be majorly lower limb, address your specific needs and help avoid any particular bad habits you have. Strengthening is again not quite as simple as it seems and you should always seek professional advice.

Running Performance
Strengthening protocols have also been shown to make running feel easier through improving running economy. As a last point, you should not be afraid of running. There is no reason why you cannot run continuously and injury free as long as you ensure you are nice and strong, find a training volume that is right for you and that your running technique is as efficient as possible.

A basic single leg squat has a nice equal effort from the hips and knee. A good way to start you strengthen protocol would be to perform single 3 sets of 6-12, 3-5 times per week. The reps and sets give a variety of options as everyone is different. Start slow and controlled. Increase variety in things such as speed/endurance as you become better at the movement pattern.

In the not so distant future, we will be releasing exercises of the week that may be a welcome addition to your strength training programme – so keep your eyes peeled!

Still think you don’t have to be strong to run? Maybe ask Mo Farah whether he lifts… 🙂

Date Posted

September 1st, 2023


Running and Moving Centre

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Woking: 01483 608350
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Orbit Leisure Centre: 01784 918281