Running The Distances

By: Kirsty Millwood, B. Pod., Mar 09, 2015
Running The Distances | Kirsty Millwood, B.Pod

Things to keep in mind when it comes to your training

Do you like to run? Run for stress relief, health benefits, or the challenge? Signed up for a race?

Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, but it can put a great deal of repetitive stress on your body; on your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments; on your knees, hips, lower back, and of course, your feet!

Whether you are new to running, returning from injury, making a long awaited comeback, or a seasoned runner, there are a number of things to keep in mind when it comes to your training and keeping yourself on the road:

Training errors (e.g., too much too soon)

It is very easy to increase the mileage too much in a short period of time. Or to run all your training runs at the same or a high intensity. Remember the 10% rule when it comes to building up the mileage (increase training by no more than 10% each week), mix up you training runs throughout the week (you don’t have to run them all at the same pace), and alternate the routes so they are not all up hills or on the same pavements each time.

Poor fitting or worn running shoes

There’s great debate on how often you should replace your running shoes (or after X amount of kilometres), and lot of it comes down to how often and far you are running. Remember that with regular use, all those miles you are pounding the pavement with, will slowly wear out and break down the materials in the running shoes, that give you all that great support and cushioning.
Have a look at what you are wearing at the moment. Check to see how worn the soles are, how much of the tread has been worn away?

Are your feet starting to feel less comfortable in the shoes or have any new aches or pains started to develop?

Maybe it’s time to head down to your local specialised running store for a proper fitting and a fresh pair of shoes! One piece of advice I give all my patients is that you want to be walking out of that store with the most comfortable pair of shoes, even if that means trying on half a dozen pairs to get it right!

Biomechanical stresses/imbalances

When external factors such as training errors and footwear have been addressed, and there’s still a problem, then maybe it’s your biomechanics (how your body is structured and functions).
Excessive pronation (rolling in), pesplanus (flat feet), pescavus (high arches) and ligamentous laxity (hypermobile or flexible ligaments) are just some biomechanical factors that can create imbalances or extra stresses on our feet and lower limbs. And when you run, you put up to 4 times the stress through your body and joints, so it’s understandable that sometimes it can become too much!

Common running injuries that can occur include: achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis / heel pain, patellofemoralpain syndrome “runner’s knee”, iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, stress fractures, bursitis, sesamoiditis, medial tibial stress syndrome “shin splits”, just to name a few.
In my personal experience, I have been running on and off for many years, but in the past 7 years I have increased my running from 5km races up to now training for my 2nd full marathon (42.2km) this October! I developed knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome) whilst training many years ago and it was my biomechanics that were a major contributor to the injury. I had Custom Foot Orthotics made for me to wear both day to day, and when exercising, to help improve my alignment, as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Orthotics are certainly something that have helped me, but every foot is different, so not everyone requires them, and having an assessment done by a qualified health professional is by far the best way to establish what is going wrong, what may be causing the issue (quite often multiple factors) and the best path of treatment.

If you do require Custom Foot Orthotics to help treat a sports injury, here are a few of tips I recommend:

  • Gradual wear in period – get used to wearing them in your day to day shoes (adding an extra hour each day over a 1-2 week period), before even considering wearing them running/exercising;
  • When buying new shoes (regular or running shoes) always bring your orthotics with you for the fitting, and mention to the staff member assisting with your shoe fitting that you wear them, as this can alter the amount of support/correction you will need from the shoes;
  • If you notice any squeaking of the orthotics when walking/running, I have found Body Glide to work well at eliminating this!

If you are experiencing any lingering aches and pains, or injuries that just won’t resolve, it may be worth a visit to your local Chiropodist/Foot Specialist.

Kirsty is a registered chiropodist She received the Bachelor of Podiatry from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Kirsty previously worked in a community health based organization upon graduation and up until relocating from Australia to Toronto.

Kirsty has experience in general foot care, diabetes foot assessment and management, wound management, nail surgeries, biomechanics/sports injuries and paediatrics. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance running and is currently training for the Chicago Marathon.

Kirsty practices at Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Milton and Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Cambridge where she is able to provide patients with lower limb biomechanical assessments to ensure the right path of treatment is established.