Recreational running is currently number one participation sport in the world. With running becoming more popular, there is an increasing number of injuries. Almost 50% of runners get injured ever year, with the most common injuries being IT band syndrome (pain on the side of your knee), patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain under your knee cap), plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
One of the biggest problems that contribute to such a high incidence rates are injuries that were not treated properly. Most of the runners who get pain, stop training until they start to feel better, and then they resume their training without really knowing what cause their pain in the first place. It is a well-known fact that any previous injuries increase the likelihood of any future injuries. Taking that into account, it is really important to determine the root cause of injuries.
When thinking about the cause of your injury, it is important to take a look at your biomechanics, strength, flexibility, and alignment. Biomechanics explain how we move and what is the optimal way to move. Do you heel strike, overstride or have low stride frequency? All these factors contribute to your running performance and injury risk. Making sure that you have proper biomechanics for your current level of fitness and body type, will help decrease the risk of injuries.
Interestingly, it has been shown that running shoes have a major influence on how you run. People who had more than two pairs of shoes had a lower risk of getting injured. A lot of runners who only have one pair of shoes, develop overuse injuries from using the same muscles over and over again. This is especially the case if you run over the same surface each time you go for a run. Since it takes approximately 36 hours for your shoes to regain their elasticity, you want to make sure that you have at least two pairs of shoes if you plan on doing daily runs.
Weaknesses, imbalances and not having an optimal flexibility, interfere with your running and influence your injury risk. Working on your running mechanics is one thing, however, if you do not have the requisite strength, muscle balance, and flexibility to support it, changing your running mechanics might not give you the results you want. Make sure that you have a strength training program that takes into account your body type and properly addresses your muscle imbalances, flexibility and is align with your goals.