Should You Be Worried About Injuries if You\’re a Heavier Runner?

If you’re a heavier runner, should you be worried about injuries? This was the question asked to Globe and Mail a few weeks ago. The writer gave a great answer, and I’d like to give my take on that, as well. So I will.

Whenever I get invited to speak to Running Rooms, I always tell the runners that running to get fit is a decidedly bad idea. After all, imagine taking a couch potato, and tell that person to jump on one leg 2500 times. And do that on both legs. You’d look at me like I’m crazy. And yet, what happens when you run a 5K? You’re jumping on each leg 2500 times (assuming each step is 1 meter).


Original source: here.

So you shouldn’t run to get fit, but rather, get fit to run. How do you do that? First and foremost, identify your muscle imbalances. Especially in women, there is a significant imbalance between the strength of the quads (the front of the thighs) and the hamstrings (the backs of the thighs). Doing repetitive activities only amplifies those imbalances, and puts you on the highway to injury. Is it any wonder that many women who take up running develop IT band problems, and knee problems?

So if you’re a heavier person (and let’s face it, we’re not talking about muscle here), first and foremost, lose the body fat. If you want to run for the sake of running, that’s what you do. Now, if you’re running for the sake of fat loss, you’re wasting a lot of time, since there are much more effective ways to lose fat.

Now let’s assume that you truly enjoy running. Let’s go back to the muscle imbalances. First, it’s important to identify what they are. A qualified professional can help you do that. After you’ve identified your imbalances, it’s important to use strength training to reverse those imbalances.

Additionally, you want to make sure that you vary your training. Don’t just run long distances day in and day out. You may run 3-4 times per week, and strength train twice per week. If you’re stiff, it’s important to stretch, and if you’re hypermobile, it’s actually important to avoid stretching.


Any questions?

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