Whether you are someone who, like me, absolutely loves running, or whether you just can’t imagine why anyone would choose to do something so torturous, running and walking is an integral part of our lives. Personally, running makes me feel free and happy, and as an ex-elite athlete, I know I am among thousands who enjoy running as part of their regular exercise routine. Running can be enjoyed by almost all people, regardless of whether you are an athlete or a beginner runner. But wherever you are on your running journey, and even if you aren’t an athlete, there are some key principles that hold true for everyone: If you are injured then you can’t run.
Injury prevention is key. My athletic journey led me to my career as a chiropractor, as I had an injury in my hip that kept getting treated by the same people, doing the same thing, but without improvement. Under their care, my injury didn’t heal, although at the time, I didn’t think to question that maybe they were missing something. It wasn’t until I accidentally stumbled upon a chiropractor, who looked at my body as a whole rather than just treating the pain in my hip, that I was able to heal my hip injury. This amazing chiropractor x-rayed my spine and found I had scoliosis and a structural short leg on the right (as an 800m track runner this was very relevant and significant!), and that my hamstrings were over-activated (hence all my hamstring injuries). Some orthotics with a heel lift were prescribed, as were core and glute activation exercises. My full spine was adjusted, as well as my hips, knees and ankles. With just one adjustment to my lower back, my pain was gone! Within weeks I was running faster than I had ever run. To this day, I have never had that hip pain that I had experienced for over 10 years of my athletic career.
If only I had found chiropractic whilst I was in my prime! However, now the silver lining as a chiropractor and ex-athlete is that I get to help people every day with similar issues get back to doing what they love. I love co-managing with other practitioners and find acupuncture, massage, physiotherapy and good sports nutrition are key not just for performance, but for injury treatment, and of course prevention. You also need to have good running technique, so having a good coach to help you is ideal. Running in groups is great if you need that little bit of extra motivation, and it’s also important to have activities that balance the high impact nature of running, such as yoga, Pilates, stretching and swimming.
We are lucky that in this month’s newsletter we have so many gems to help enhance your running performance, and to give you tips and tricks to avoid injury. Dr Nick Miller is a running technician, as well as a chiropractor, and has some important technique suggestions to help you survive the City 2 Surf and other running festivals this month. Nutritionists Jessica Hockey and Hayley Derwent have lots of important information on how best to fuel your body for race day, and what key vitamins you need to make sure your body can heal, energise and recover from races. Dr Tim Robards, our celebrity chiropractor, is a City 2 Surf ambassador and has provided information on how to get the most out of your running practice. We’ve included some little-known acupuncture techniques to help you heal from injuries naturally, and I’ve written a piece on how to look after your knees while training. If you follow half the suggestions in this month’s newsletter, you will be well on your way to improving your running performance. If you don’t, we might be seeing you in clinic to help you recover from the impacts of training!
Many people who didn’t like running in their youth find they love it later on. In her thirties, my sister – who couldn’t stand running – did the couch to 5km program and has never looked back. If you, like me, love running, then follow these suggestions, and your running season well be much more enjoyable and sustainable in the long-term. Good luck to those running the City 2 Surf and other fun runs this month!