Injuries in winter/what to look out for or dos and don’ts
Do: spend longer warming up and preparing those muscles for a work out – Running in the warmest part of the day is recommended, between 10am and 2pm.
Shade and wind will cool down your body fast – causing you to shiver and increase muscular contractions. This can be associated with sudden tendon and muscular strains. A proper warm-up can be done indoors prior to your run.
Don’t: make any sudden changes to your footwear. Changing to a shoe your running style isn’t suited for is an injury waiting to happen. Know your running style, stick with your old faithful joggers and if you really feel like you’re overdue for a change, I recommend a gait analysis and getting a shoe fitted just for you.
Does the temperature have any bearing on whether/how to prepare for workouts or runs?
In the colder months, I recommend spending a little longer warming up and easing into your run. In winter, it can take a little longer for our muscles and connective tissue around our joints to warm up and become more pliable – as a result, injury risk increases when you go straight into a workout without preparation.
A 10 minute workout will get the blood pumping to those muscles, as your body starts to generate heat the connective tissue around your joints will be able to tolerate the workout a lot better. Once your body is warm, I recommend stretching out any tight spots you may have before you begin your run.
Even though it is cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to drink as much water as you would need to on a scorcher of a day.
Make sure you monitor your water intake the same way you would in those warmer seasons.
Appropriate clothing is a must. We are lucky that our climate in winter is fairly mild. However, a lot of heat can escape from our hands, feet and head. So you might need to have a look at your running wardrobe and update a few items.
Are there other seasonal hazards related to typical workout types in winter?
Your winter workout surface can potentially contribute to injury. Unstable, slippery or hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing injuries such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathies.
To avoid such injuries you may want to slightly adjust your expectations for speed and time, aim to run on days where the surfaces aren’t slippery from rain or dew, mix up your surface between the path and grass.
Another surface that tends to get forgotten is the good ol’ treadmill.
This is a popular choice for gym goers who still would like to do their running training when the weather isn’t cooperating.
When you think about it, the treadmill belt helps you run. It makes the running gait a little easier by assisting your hip extension (bringing your leg back). In turn, your glutes don’t get their regular workout they would on your favourite running track.
It is important to keep in the back of your mind if you have had to do a little more treadmill running training that usual, spend more time focusing on some isolated glute strengthening exercises like lunges, clams and sidelying hip abduction exercises. This will help prevent the stain on the knee when it is a sunny day and you hit the running track again after prolonged treadmill training.
Or maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors fixing technique that may over time lead to injury.
I highly recommend including an indoor strengthening and stability regime to your running schedule that involves focusing on your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.
I find that there can be a common reason why athletes get injured. They disobey the rule of the Terrible Toos.
If you push yourself in these three, you will get injured. Simple
The injured athletes that I see in my practice fall into this category.
This can be especially relevant in the winter months as your body is working extra hard anyway to deal with the weather and any changes in the terrain.
Follow the 48 hour rule. Don’t ignore a niggle if it is lingering on for longer than 2 days
In any season, when a cheeky injury decides to stop by, we’re only human to think that if we leave it alone, it will get better, right?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of increasing our exercise regime and I think it is a nice friendly reminder that we are doing good for our body. However if you have pain or discomfort that doesn’t fall under the category of “good sore” then it is time to get help. See a physiotherapist that has experience working with athletes and getting them back in their runners.
Ok, now lace up those runners, warm up and have a fabulous run!
Love, The Office Athlete