Why training was essential for the Great North Run

Sep 17 16:03 2013 Dave Regis Print This Article

The crowds in the North East turned out in force on Sunday to cheer on the participants of the Great North Run, with over 55,000 people taking part on the 13.1 mile route across Newcastle and the surrounding areas. The gruelling half marathon sees both professionals and amateur’s alike running for personal glory and for charities.

The professional race saw a fantastic sprint finish between Britain’s very own Mo Farah and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekel,Guest Posting with the latter edging the win in an impressive 1 hour and 9 seconds. Farah had chased the Ethiopian over the last 400 metres but was unable to take the glory finishing just one second behind the winner.

Aside from the professionals, there were over 55,000 amateur runners taking to the streets and the challenge of the half marathon. They have spent time preparing their body and their mind for the challenge and now 24 hours on they can be proud of their achievement.

Why is training so important to avoid running injuries?

The months of training are essential in being able to get ready for the race, without which the 13.1 mile course could either be impossible or the increase the risk of running injuries dramatically. Running injuries can happen to both amateurs and professionals, which is why preparation and training is essential to help avoid them.

Running any distance, whether it is one mile or thirteen, runners need to ensure they have fully warmed up beforehand and cooled down afterwards. Warming up ensures the muscles are more relaxed and ready for action, reducing the risk of sprains and other running injuries when out on the road.

Following any run, failure to cool down properly can result in a build up of lactic acid in the muscles and lead to stiffness. There will be many participants of the Great North Run this morning feeling very stiff and sore and not as mobile as normal. Stretching the muscles and resting can overcome this in a few days and allow you to get back out onto the road.

Common running injuries encountered on the course

Running injuries can happen at any time, both in training and in a race. In race situations where the crowd are cheering you on runners can run harder and faster and the adrenaline can sometimes mask any running injuries incurred. Resting after the race and cooling down properly can help to limit the impact of such sports injuries.

Injuries themselves can be broken down into two distinct groups in that of muscle injuries and joint injuries. In considering running injuries, muscle complaints can cover anything in the lower body including the calf, hamstring and groin. From a joint perspective the high impact of running on the road to the lower limb can cause problems to both the ankle and knee.

Muscle injuries encountered when running

One of the main running injuries encountered on the course will be muscle related, where runners are pushing themselves and potentially overstretching. Muscle related injuries typically cover the calf, hamstring and thigh regions and can come in many forms of severity. Sometimes you see on a football field how players will pull up straight away on feeling their hamstring pull, whilst in other instances it can be a gradual twinge forcing them off the field. A severe muscle tear will certainly be noticeable and at times can be felt popping as it tears.

The race yesterday will have seen a number of casualties from injury with not all the 55,000 who started being able to finish the race.

Running injuries on the knee and ankle joints

Joint complaints are another common form of running injuries, especially with the wet weather leading to an increased risk in slips and trips. From a health and safety perspective, slips and trips remain one of the most common types of injury sustained in the workplace and the same can be said when outside. These types of injuries can affect the ankle and the knee, from either a slight sprain to something more serious in the form of ligament damage.

Sprained ankles are common in running injuries and in everyday life, preventing not only walking but certainly finishing a half marathon. The best course of action to take is rest and the use of ice to manage inflammation. An ankle brace can also be used to offer additional support when mobile.

What are the benefits of an ankle brace?

An ankle brace is designed to offer additional support to the ankle joint, either as an injury preventative measure or post injury. Each ankle brace is completely different depending on the type of injury you are looking to manage. It is important to select the correct brace to ensure you receive the full benefits as the wrong brace can offer reduced protection against your specific injury. If you are unsure as to which ankle brace to buy you should first consult with a clinician who will be able to offer a professional diagnosis and advise on the best course of rehabilitation and ankle brace to select.

A standard ankle brace is designed to offer protection to the ankle following light sprains or strains. Compression is used as a means of managing inflammation and reducing pain which can allow the patient to stay active for longer. The extra support can also boost the confidence of the patient so that they can continue performing for longer knowing they have that extra support.

A more sophisticated ankle brace may be more focused on managing ligament damage. Each manufacture is completely different but something like a Bioskin Trilok ankle brace is designed specifically to manage ankle ligament damage rehabilitation. It works using straps which act as external ligaments providing extra support during rehabilitation and beyond. The ankle ligaments are the strong bands of tissue connecting the bones and providing you with joint stability, without which you would be unable to walk properly, let alone run.

How can I diagnose running injuries?

The first thing to do if you feel you have picked up any running injuries is to stop and rest. For those undertaking the Great North Run this can be a difficult decision to make in knowing that their months of training will not have resulted in them crossing the finish line. The number one priority is your health and your on going fitness.

You should rest for a few days and see how you injury is. Remember you can use ice to manage any inflammation and help to sooth the pain which can be very inconvenient. If the injury fails to subside within a few days then you should talk to a clinician who may be able to recommend a better means of managing the condition, whether through more rest, physiotherapy or the use of a sports brace. There are sports braces available for all types of injuries from an ankle brace to a knee brace to a wrist support, all of which can help to manage common running injuries.

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About Article Author

Dave Regis
Dave Regis

Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of sports injuries, reviewing injury rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He frequently blogs and writes articles covering areas of interest, focussing on the use of an ankle brace and the various methods of rehabilitation for ankle injuries.

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