Feel Great For Sport: Handy tips for last minute Great North Run injuries

GREAT OCCASION: The start of the Bupa Great North Run 2013, with the elite mens runners, including Mo Farah, at the start line

GREAT OCCASION: The start of the Bupa Great North Run 2013, with the elite mens runners, including Mo Farah, at the start line

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

IT’S that time of year again…

Right now, my clinic is being flooded with people in training for the Great North Run, or should I say, people who have over trained and are now suffering the consequences.

So, to help you out if you’re in training for it here’s a list of the top three things that commonly go wrong at this time of year if you’re training for the Great North Run, and how to avoid them from getting in the way of what you’re trying to achieve:

Achilles tendon pain – I’d say that this is the most common complaint we’ll see from now until the race starts on September 7, and even for a short while after it too. Why does it happen? Well, it’s usually caused by too much road running and can happen when the distances involved are short. But, if you’re heading up towards the 8-10 mile stage for your training, then it’s something you need to look out for. Out-dated or worn out trainers can also cause this type of problem, as can swapping to a different make or brand after you’ve got used to another type. Stretching your calf and Achilles tendon after when you’ve ran will help too, as will applying ice for about ten minutes. This type of injury can take at least 3-4 weeks to settle if you suffer, so be sure to proceed with caution if it’s just at the niggle stage right now.

Lower back pain and stiffness – this often goes hand in hand with Achilles pain too. And if you’re back is beginning to show signs of feeling really stiff and heavy when you run, almost as though it wants to ‘implode’, then it’s telling you that you’re lower back isn’t strong enough and it’s in need of some urgent rest. Your running style (always leaning forward) can make this worse and my tip is that you ease down pretty quickly and add in some specific yoga and pilates type exercises that will help strengthen and make it more flexible, too.

Shin splints – this is the problem that you really don’t want to happen, because pretty much only rest can stop the pain. If it has already started, you’ll feel excruciating pain on the inside of your shin bone that gets worse as you run. Apply lots of ice to the shin bone (wrapped in a tea towel to protect your skin) and it’ll also help to check trainers for signs that they’re looking worn, which means your joints aren’t getting the support they need. Also, look into doing the same pilates and yoga routine that I mentioned above, as it’s never too late to start. If it’s so bad you can’t run, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to in a day or two. Be sensible and give yourself at least a week of rest, if not more, and maybe try a couple of hours of swimming or bike riding to keep up your fitness instead.

Preparing for the Great North Run is easy if you follow the steps and listen to your body. Resist the temptation to up your training too quickly, as most of the time, injuries like the ones I’ve been seeing all week, and just described to you above, are happening because runners skip a phase (or two) and jump straight from 30 minutes, to 60. Inevitably, it causes problems.

Good for me as a physio, but not for you or the charities you’re running for so follow these tips wisely. If you’d like to know about what to do to recover quick from running injuries, please go to my website: www.paulgoughphysio.com/sports-injury-clinic, where there is a free special report waiting for you to download instantly.

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