Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Load management is a super important component of your running program and training errors are the single biggest cause of running related injuries that we see at Evolved Physio.
Load management is important for all runners, but even more so if you are still relatively new to running.
The tissue in our body - the bone, muscle, ligament and tendon all have a “capacity” or load tolerance, that they can work at safely. If we suddenly or repetitively exceed that capacity limit it can result in overload and subsequent injury.
Tendons in particular are susceptible to sudden fluctuations in load, for example if you normally run 5 km and suddenly increase that to 10km or 15km this could be a higher rate loading than the tendon can cope with and there can be subsequent tendon pain.
Bone is more susceptible to repetitive load and can be vulnerable when there is consistent impact loading without adequate time for repair at a cellular level.
Our body is constantly adapting to load but it takes some time for this to occur so allowing at least 36 hours between one run and the next will allow sufficient recovery time and minimise the chance of overload.
When considering how much load you are putting into your body, think about more than just the running. Consider this list and how you could better distribute your training load.
Surface you run on
Other training loads - weights, walking, cycling etc
Work - do you stand all day or is your job very physical? Do you sit all day and then do sudden burst of high intensity exercise?
Rest days - do you have any? Are they balanced amongst everything else?
Add some variety to your running by mixing up the running variable such as pace, distance and surface you run on. If you always run at one pace consider adding some interval session or tempo runs into the mix. Consider what else you do in a day or within the 36 hour recovery window that could be contributing to tissue overload.
Cross train with activities that provide the body with a different type of loading such as strength training, pilates, swimming or cycling. Set goals that are realistic and have sensible time frames for building up the kilometres.
Most importantly - listen to your body! Our bodies are great at telling us when to stop or take a break.... we are just not always that good at listening.
If you do have any niggles or injuries get them seen to sooner rather than later. Often a slight change to the training program or additional strength exercises can have you back on track sooner rather than later with minimal impact to your program and goals.