Well it’s finally here! We actually have some beautiful spring weather and you know what that means?! Everyone is about to lose their freaking minds. The kids are about to go crazy with the end of the school year looming, adults are ready to break out of their winter hibernation habits, and everyone is excited for some much needed time outside in the warmth and sunshine.
Some aspects of spring make this my favorite time of year. We start to get to outdoor track, excitement levels seem to naturally increase due to the warmth and sunshine, and we know that good running weather is upon us! The challenge I see during this time is the fear and urgency that a lot of people have when it comes to getting back into activity after a winter lull.
There are a lot of people who struggle in the winter months. I mean who really enjoys layering up and freezing your butt off in the dark?! You can count me out! Then the warm weather comes back and everyone either thinks they can get back into their fall training regime, or that they SHOULD be back doing what they were in the fall.
This is the first mistake that people make. Running injuries are typically caused by one of two things; training errors, or tissue capacity limitations. This means that you either get hurt because of a load management error with how much you’re running, how fast you’re running, how much recovery you’re taking, and the overall density of your workload. There is a common phrase in the running physical therapy world that 80% of running related injuries are because 80% of runners run at 80% intensity 80% of the time. Basically this means that you got hurt due to some sort of training error and mismanagement of loads/stress. These things happen even when you’re in a good cycle of training, so don’t let this happen when you’re coming off a winter of very little!
The other side of this coin is that your spring/summer running injury is caused by some tissue capacity limitations. This just means that the bones, tendons, muscles, and/or ligaments can’t tolerate the load that you’re applying to them. There is a mismatch between how much load they can handle and what’s being asked of them. This is why load management and tissue strengthening (WITH RESISTANCE) is so important. You may be jumping off the walls in excitement to get outside and run, but PLEASE don’t forget to condition your body through other means as well and make sure that you’re fully prepared to tolerate the load.
When working with athletes at Peak Endurance and Ascent Endurance Group we like to focus on consistency of work, then density of training, and finally consistent density. This just means that we are more worried about how frequently you’re able to stress your body and create a stimulus vs how hard/high of a stimulus you’re getting. You DO NOT need to go out and hammer a run everyday now that it’s spring time, but instead you need to start conditioning your body to the loads that you’re imposing on it gradually over time. Then you can start sprinkling in a little bit of density (ie: see how hard you can run that typical 2 mile loop), and then over time get some more consistent density in the training.
So, be excited because some great weather is upon us, but let’s also treat our bodies well and stay healthy throughout this process. We see the most amount of running-related injuries during this transition from winter to spring, so don’t fall culprit to the spring running “injury” bug. Remember that most injuries occur due to training errors (too much, too soon, too fast), or a limitation in your body’s tissue tolerance. Focus on building consistency in your training, and then place the attention on the density.
If you’re dealing with a running-related injury and need some guidance feel free to reach out to us HERE, or if you’re looking for some guidance on your endurance training we would be happy to help you during this transition at the Ascent Endurance Group.
Have fun, stay healthy, and stay resilient.