Current Trends in the Prevention of Running Injuries

What an awesome weekend!

This weekend, Kim Senechal (Physiotherapist with Ascent Physio and ELM Running Coach) and myself went over to the big city this weekend for a specialized workshop: "New Trends in the Prevention and Treatment of Running Injuries". Presented by Jean Francois Esculier of 'The Running Clinic' in Quebec, this weekend course did not disappoint and we both came home with exciting new ideas to share with our running and rehab clients.

As professionals, it is a top priority to be aware of current research and trends in our field so that we can be confident we are sharing the most up to date information with you, our clients and patients. There is exciting new research occurring in the areas of running injuries, performance, running gait and footwear. We want to ensure that the advice we are providing our running clients is supported by current research. I am happy to say that we have been giving you good advice! Many of the skills and techniques you are learning in your ELM running clinics and workshops are supported by a growing body of evidence based research.

Kim and I are both very interested in this field and have spent a great deal of our personal time reviewing the literature and even going so far as conducting our own pilot study in 2012 comparing injury rates of runners wearing 'traditional vs minimal' footwear during a beginner running program. We are also very happy to say that the findings of our study fall directly in line with that of current scientific literature- results coming very soon!

The current research disproves some longstanding beliefs in the world of running...and challenges many ideas that, until recently, were only assumptions. My favourite slide of the weekend was: "I take no responsibility for what I told you 5 years ago";) Remember when your high school coach told you to stretch BEFORE your workouts (maybe you still do? Let's talk:)? We learned many years ago that static stretching before your workouts does not 'warm up' your muscles and can actually decrease your performance and increase your risk of injury. We learn, we change. It is hard to change old ideas...but important to be open minded, forward thinking and stay aligned with current research.

Where to start!? Here is Part 1 to get you started...stay tuned for the rest!

1. We are on the right track. 95% of the workshop supported our current ideas and practices. We have some fine tuning to do. The other 5% includes shifting the weight of importance of some of the techniques and tools we use to coach, train and treat runners.

2. Training errors are responsible for 80% of running injuries. Listening to your body, periodization and training principles such as overload, recovery and specificity are just as important as we tell you they are:)

3. Optimal stride frequency to decrease the risk of injury and increase efficiency is 170-190 steps per minute. This frequency is shown to decrease ground reaction force (impact) by decreasing contact time, decreasing muscular work (increasing efficiency) and decreasing vertical displacement (up and down movement).

4. Technique that encourages 'protective biomechanics' will decrease the risk of injury. This includes: Achieving optimal cadence (170-190), decreasing footstrike noise and running barefoot/in minimal footwear*(*more specific reasons/guidelines for this in the next post).

*Next Up: The Role of Footwear in the Prevention of Injuries!

Read the 10 'Golden Rules' of Running from The Running Clinic for a few more ideas...

Happy Trails,