Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Simple injury prevention--Tip 4

This week's topic in the Runner's lounge: "Take It and Run Thursday" involves training tips for the 5k or 10k. After reading a couple of great posts on periodization it reminded me how often we see clients who either don't know this concept or have forgotten it. Periodization is an important concept to include when planning a training schedule for up coming race or series of races. It will help a runner peak at the right time and minimize the risk or injury. In the clinical setting we continue to see runners who put the cart in front of the bull. In other words they, just start a running progression after being off from an injury but then ask if they can run a race in a couple of weeks. We usually respond by saying why? Why risk it? We remind them that their time would not be anywhere close to their potential and they could re-injury themselves.

In phase one of periodization, a runner needs to build a strong healthy running base. This should be a return to pain-free running and a gradual build-up of mileage with a occasional deloading. I also feel this phase should include function strengthening and mobility exercises which works each runners muscle imbalances. This will set the ground work to add more stress later. After this phase, it is time to work on faster paces or quality workouts. Next, the quality work outs can be more specific for the planned race distance. The best time to race fast is after these specific quality workouts have been completed. Now of course there is overlap during each phase and it should continue to include deloading. It is possible to race after some quality workouts have been completed but it must be understood that the times may not be to the runner's highest potential. Remember a runner can't remain at a high level of peak too long without having a period of rest, reduced mileage and effort. Then a new cycle of periodization may begin. It doesn't matter if the runner is elite or a beginner, these are important steps to follow with the distance and speed appropriate for their skill level.

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