Each year 60% of runners are injured.
Most often, the pain is labeled an overuse injury.
Subsequently athletes experience localized weakness,
altered movement patterns, and lost training days.
More frustrating though is the fact that once a runner,
or any athlete, returns to their training it is highly
likely that the injury will happen again.
It is typically understood that overuse injuries occur
due to too much training. Then why can many runners
log in countless miles without getting injured? How
do they do it? Why aren't they getting over use
I believe it is because they injury in fact is not always
due to over training, but actually under recovery.
How do we over train?
Exercise of any kind is a stimulus used to attain a
certain response by our body. The workout actually
causes slight damage, which is then repaired
(hopefully) better and stronger than before.
We spend a lot of time thinking about and planning our
training program (the stimulus) for better
performance. But a stimulus is only as good as the
response that it causes. Or as good as the body's
ability to recover from and adapt to the activity.
The damaged structures need to be repaired to
prevent more serious damage in subsequent training
sessions. When a training regimen exceeds the rate
that the body's tissues can adapt injury occurs.
How do we under recover?
If there is no recovery, then their is no healthy
adaptation to your body. If there is no change in your
body, then there really is no reason to keep training.
Adequate training recovery and adaptation is critical to
seeing the gains and reaching the goals you set for your
training program. If rate of recovery is improved, more
frequent and higher intensity training is possible
without the detrimental effects of over use injuries.
Just like prescribing a medication, a recovery plans
dosage and frequency can not be arbitrary. It is
dependent on the patient's ability to adapt, age, general
health, nutrition, and the training activity. It's our job
to provide the best environment for our body to
recover and adapt.
Three aspects of a recovery centered program:
This includes your cardiovascular, nervous, and musculo
skeletal system. . . probably the most obvious of the
three. Your nervous systems is the "battery" that fires
all your muscles and must be allowed to rest. The
cardiovascular system pumps blood brining oxygen and
nutrients to the muscles while removing the waste
products (ie lactic acid) that accumulate.
Massage can be a beneficial mechanical strategy to
break up scar tissue, relax the nervous system, and
improve blood flow, while decreasing muscle soreness.
Our best tool to do this is Astym, which you can learn
more about at www.astym.com.
This includes your brain, hormones, and immunity.
Cognitive strategies are used to diminish the effects of
stress hormones on the recovery process. Even work
and life stress can prevent you from recovering
Your immune system is forced to respond with "fight"
mechanisms that don't allow training adaptations to occur.
In fact, your body thinks it is still in training mode, not
recovery mode. Anything to decrease the overall
cognitive stress (including relaxation, meditation, yoga
and the like) will assist the recovery process.
The way you fuel your body gives it the ability to adapt,
repair, and remodel tissues. This includes protein for
tissue repair and building muscle. Carbohydrates are
needed to fuel the process and maintain the immune
system. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids decrease
inflammation and antioxidants help heal tissue.
Address these three areas to stay healthy, train hard,
and rest well. In this way you can keep doing the
activity you love without destroying your body in the
You may already be overwhelmed by your training
schedule and don't even want to think about a recovery
plan. Worse off, the health and fitness world is a confusing
place. But it doesn’t have to be. Let us help you make
sense of it all.
Physical therapy can provide guidance for competent self
care and health mentorship. We can guide you toward
appropriate fitness nutrition and supplementation, as well
as healthy training schedules. Inquire HERE today!
Comment below with your recovery questions, look for
next weeks blog differentiating rest from recovery, and
give us a call to get your "under recovery" injuries