Today on the Doc on the Run Podcast, we’re talking about how weakness causes running injuries.
When I say weakness causes running injuries, well, if you’re a runner who has been injured, you probably feel that’s a little bit like rubbing salt in the wound. But stay with me here. I’m not talking about weakness of character. I’m not talking about weakness of your resolve or your commitment to running or your mental fortitude. But if you get injured and you’re a runner, it is about weakness. And make no mistake about this, if you get injured, it’s because you are weak. By definition, all over-training injuries are a result of weakness. Specifically, tissue weakness. The bone was too weak after too many workouts without enough recovery time in between. And then you got a metatarsal stress fracture.
Your Achilles tendon was not strong enough to absorb and recover and heal after your series of hill repeats, speed work and long runs. Then you got Achilles tendinitis. The tissue was just too weak and the tissue broke. You got injured. You got an over-training injury. And now you have to sit on the sidelines. This is about weakness and we often think about it in terms of how do you make your Achilles tendon stronger? What supplements can I take to make sure my bones are stronger? But actually, you should be thinking more specifically about the global weakness that you as a runner have. Think about a couple of simple tests of strength that you could do right now. Could you do 20 pull ups right now? I mean real pull ups where you just go up and down, you’re not using your legs, you’re throwing your body weight around to make it easier.
Could you do 20 pull ups in a row? Could you do 100 sit ups without stopping? Could you do 20 single legged squats in a row with good form right now? I mean, the fact is I think most runners can’t. Most runners don’t have that sort of strength, and why is that? Well, most of us as runners think that we need to run, we need to train our legs, we need to get stronger lungs, we need to get stronger muscles to propel is forward. But your entire body propels you forward. Your arm swing helps. Your form helps. Your absolutely help. All the small muscles that support you in your core, they all help.. and the stronger they are, the lower your chances of getting an over-training injury.
Very, very, very few runners really dedicate a specific routine to strength training that will help prevent injuries. But the other part of this, this is really simple, you can get stronger now. If you aren’t injured, you can prevent an injury. It really is simple, that you can engage in a strength training program that’s specific for runners that will help you address all these little areas of weakness that kind of plague runners and then make you less stable, make your form fall apart and then translate into increased forces to things like your Achilles tendon or your metatarsal bones that lead to injuries like tendonitis or stress fractures. You can get stronger now. Even if you’re injured, you may think you don’t need to be strengthening because you’re supposed to be resting, but that idea is stupid.
You can build strength to support not one injured part right now, because while you’re healing that one injured part, whether it’s a metatarsal stress fracture or your Achilles tendon or whatever, the rest of you is getting weaker. And if the rest of you gets weaker, when you start running, you’re going to be more at risk of another over-training injury. So right now you really need to think about what can you do to strengthen your entire system? What can you do to get stronger to prevent an injury? What can you do to get stronger to support that one healing piece of tissue in your body that’s giving you trouble so you’re ready to run when you want to run? That’s really the key. So take a good look at your weaknesses, try to figure out what they are and work relentlessly to try to strengthen those areas of weakness so you can run further, run more and avoid another over-training injury.
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!