Physiotherapy Tip of the Month (February)

Posted on: 08 Feb 2022

Physiotherapy Tip of the Month (February)

For February’s tip we are going to focus on running training and associated injuries. Whether you are sticking with a new year’s resolution to keep fit, or training for a particular event (like the Bon Secours Hospital ‘100K’s in 30 days’ challenge or The Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Love Run’), staying injury free will be key to consistency and achieving your goal.

1. Prevention is better than cure! It is important that you plan and structure your training. Each training session should have a purpose. On certain days you should train speed and on other days building endurance should be your focus. Your body will respond quicker to the varied stimuli and training will be less monotonous. 

2.Take it handy! Greyhounds and elite marathon runners have one thing in common- a lot of their training involves going at an easy pace! Not every run that you do should be as hard as you can go. You should include easy ‘recovery’ days in your training plan too, where you are working at about 50-65% of your maximum effort. In fact, elite athletes commonly refer to the ’80-20 rule,’ which recommends that 80% of your weekly running should feel relaxed, with only 20% done at a high intensity.

3.But know when to push! In order to optimise your training you should consider including slightly harder training days 2-3 times a week. This may entail doing interval sessions (for instance 60 sec hard running and 60 sec easy running x10-15), tempo runs (running for a set time or distance at about 75-80% effort) or progression runs (gradually increasing effort over the course of 30mins). This will train you anaerobic system and will improve strength.

4.Swift! There is often striking differences between an Olympian marathoner’s running technique and that of a novice runner. The former is likely to look far more relaxed, despite moving at a far greater speed. The Olympian is likely to have a higher cadence (more steps per minute) and actually a shorter stride. This faster foot turnover lessens the impact on the body and is associated with less load-related injuries. You can practice running at a higher cadence by including short sprints and drills into your training regime. ~180 steps per minute is the average cadence.

5.These shoes were made for running! One of the best parts of starting to run can be picking out your new flashy pair of runners! The shoe market is now a saturated market and it can be confusing to find the right shoe for you.  The most important thing to look for in a shoe is that it feels comfortable. After that, ensuring that it has a solid heel cup (the part around your ankle), that the sole is relatively rigid (so you are unable to scrunch up the shoe) and that it is designed for purpose (mileage vs lightweight racing shoe vs trail/off road shoes) are key aspects to investigate. Shoe manufactures can exploit this market by claiming that their product ‘will eliminate injuries’- but only sensible training can do this. Varying your shoes is also helpful as each shoe will stress your foot in slightly different ways- so buy another pair while you are at it!

6.Mind your knees! Three words that every runner is sick of hearing! Luckily, studies have shown that runners actually have stronger and healthier cartilage and menisci in their knees when compared to non-runners! This is because their bodies cleverly react to the increased load and impact by strengthening up. Plus the cardiovascular and psychological benefits of going for a run far outweigh those achieved by sitting at home ‘minding your knees!’

7.Monitor your body! Despite the health benefits associated with running and keeping active, over doing your training can have the opposite effect. It is essential that you monitor your body regularly. A good place to start is by getting regular blood tests, to monitor vitamin, mineral and endocrine levels. It is also beneficial to monitor your weight. As ridiculous as it may sound to a beginner, it is vital that you do not lose too much weight through your training. In fact, you should actually maintain or gain weight in early stage of training as you begin to tone up. 

Mechanically speaking, ‘shin splints’ or ‘medial tibial stress syndromes’ are the most common type of running injury. You should monitor your shin bones for any sore spots to touch.

Working on ankle mobility and calf strength will help prevent this complaint. We will delve further into common running injuries in future articles.

If you are looking for some guidance with your training, contact the Bon Secours Hospital Physiotherapy Team. All of our physiotherapists are Chartered and are CORU Registered. We are continually training and upskilling so we can provide expert care for Sports Injuries, Pain Management, Vestibular Rehabilitation, Bone Health & Osteoporosis, Hand Therapy and Orthopaedic Issues. We accept referrals from GPs, Consultants & self referrals. 

For appointments or further information please call 066-7149864 or email


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