Running is becoming more and more popular all over the world, and Melbourne is no exception. Every year the Melbourne Marathon Festival gets bigger and bigger, and The Capitol City Trail becomes more and more crowded!
Winter, especially early Winter is a very common time to start running. On average, about 1 third of the runners you see on the trails by Spring will be running their first season. It is for those people that I write this blog!
These are 5 situations that you might find yourself in when you run your first season - I will describe the right thing to do, and the wrong thing to do...
1. You get sudden, sharp pain in your hamstring while running
DON'T keep hobbling along, holding your hamstring, hoping it will get better. You could make a mild injury much, much worse.
DO release the hamstring by doing the following:
2. You lose feeling in your feet after running up a long, steep hill.
DON'T panic. This happens more than you think, and mostly it's completely benign.
There's a muscle deep under the glutes that sits directly over the sciatic nerve - piriformis. When the hip extensors work hard, like running up-hill, the sciatic nerve gets compressed by piriformis and you can feel numbness or other sensations in your feet and/or legs.
DO keep running. It will probably pass while you're running. If it lasts for more than 30min after your run finishes, then seek medical attention.
3. You get a sore, stiff neck.
DON'T raise your shoulders to take the pressure off the muscles. The reason the pain has started is because you are hunching - raising your shoulders will make things worse.
DO pinch your shoulder blades together, lift your chest, and run tall. It sometimes helps to pretend to pinch 2 $2 coins between your forefinger and thumb.
4. You can hear yourself running hard on the pavement (This used to be me when I was 17-18.)
DON'T ignore it. It's not "normal" and it is dangerous.
DO speak to a podiatrist or specialist shoe shop to make sure you're wearing the right shoes. If you can still hear yourself over the music in your headphones, speak to a running coach.
5. You are at the end of your first race, you can see the finish line, and you want to get there ASAP.
DON'T sprint to the finish line. Your heart-rate will already be high, and a sprint might push it to over your safe maximum heart rate. You will pass-out. Aerobic-exhaustive unconsciousness is probably the least dangerous way to lose consciousness, but any loss of consciousness is bad for you.
DO get excited, but keep your pace steady and keep an eye on your heart rate monitor.
If you don't know your maximum heart rate, the simple (albeit not very accurate) formula is to subtract your age from 220. So, if you're 18, then your maximum heart rate would be 202 bpm. If you're 50, then your maximum heart rate is 170bpm.
If you want more information on running email me directly via the contact page. If you want specific information about your own injury or if you're after treatment for an injury, contact one of my clinics directly to make an appointment. Details of those clinics can be found here.
Dr Mitch Clark