Always Getting Injured? Here’s Why
For runners – and indeed all athletes – injuries are a sad fact of life. At some point in your career, you will likely deal with some sort of ache or pain. And, ideally, these will be short-lived and sporadic occurrences. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, runners frequently and repeatedly deal with injuries.
But why? If this describes your situation, what can you do to stop it? Generally speaking, there are four main reasons why you might suffer from these persistent, recurring injuries.
The first and perhaps most frustrating reason why you could be developing injury after injury has to do with your genes. Just to make things more complex, these genetic difficulties can manifest themselves in a number of problematic ways.
For example, you may naturally struggle with muscular imbalances or even differences in limb length. Some people may inherently be more or less flexible in specific joints than others. These factors can all combine to make certain areas of your body more susceptible to injury. Very often, runners will instinctively and somewhat subconsciously change their movement and stride patterns to compensate for these differences. Unfortunately, these little tricks aren’t always viable solutions and will commonly create other problems.
The amount of control that you have over these factors will range pretty wildly and in some cases will be close to a sad “none.” For most things like imbalances or postural issues though, proper training and recovery practices are typically very effective counter-strategies. Of course, the exact technique that you use will depend entirely on your individual difficulties. Still, many of the other approaches that will be discussed are simply good practices that will be useful in a variety of situations.
There’s a pretty strong chance that, as an athlete, you’ve had the importance of nutrition hammered into your head for a long time. Still, the full depth of the impact that your diet can have on your training and performance isn’t always completely understood.
Remember, when you workout your muscles are damaged. In response, your brain starts a series of reactions designed to rebuild your muscles and other affected tissues so that they will be better prepared for the next time that you encounter that stress. Just like any other building project, the proper materials need to be present for these renovations to occur.
Those materials are provided by your diet. If the nutritional part of your fitness routine isn’t complete, then, you’re body may be lacking something that it needs. As a result, you cannot fully recover from your workouts and your body will not be able to keep up the demands of your workout.
Not Enough Rest
In addition to proper nutrition, your body also needs time to accomplish all of that recovery. Often, though, well-meaning athletes push themselves too hard and overtrain. In these situations, those working muscles cannot properly adapt to the challenges presented by your workouts.
It’s important to realize, however, that “rest” means a lot of different things to runners. Of course, this frequently ignored aspect of fitness includes sleep – during which many of those muscular repairs are carried out. Unfortunately, athletes commonly skip sleep so that they can fit workouts into their already busy schedules.
This is, at best, counterproductive. Getting adequate sleep, at least 8 hours each night, is an absolute necessity for both injury prevention and overall performance.
But rest also includes the time that you spend simply not training. Or, at least, not training in the same way that you normally would. Commonly called “active recovery,” this approach requires you to keep moving while giving your body a break from your normal activity. This could involve crosstraining or even just exercising at a greatly reduced intensity.
Summing It Up
Really, then, frequent injuries can generally be tied back to one of two issues. You may have a genetic predisposition toward a certain injury or some aspect of your training could be imbalanced. Of course, it could very well be both of these things combined.
In short, frequent and repeated injuries can typically be traced back to some flaw in your overall fitness routine. To avoid this pattern, the key is to enable your body to recover and adapt thoroughly to the challenges presented by your training. It’s also important to adjust your routine to compensate for any genetic difficulties you might naturally face.
Depending on the type and severity of these injuries, you may find it helpful to consult with a doctor or qualified trainer. These specialized health and fitness professionals can help you identify the root cause of your injury and develop and effective treatment plan.