Asphalt, treadmill, grass – is there a better running surface?

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A physical kinesiologist specialized in sports medicine answers the most frequent questions among those who start running.

The running community is growing by leaps and bounds and the proximity of summer added to the recommendation to exercise outdoors in the context of the coronavirus pandemic makes more and more people join the activity. Beyond the benefits, many new runners start without proper supervision, raising the risk of injuries that, if not treated in time, can get worse.

“If we talk about runners, the most frequent injuries are in the knee, particularly a condition called femoropatellar syndrome that manifests itself to a greater extent in women. I also usually get Achilles tendinopathies, a condition that, as the name implies, involves the tendon. The latter occurs to a greater extent in middle-aged men (30 to 50 years old) “, comments Gabriel Novoa (MN: 12735), professor of the Bachelor of Kinesiology and Physiatry at ISALUD University and specialist in running.

There are, on the other hand, annoyances of the activity. So how do you know when to consult? Novoa considers fundamental assess the level of pain to conclude if it is necessary to go to a professional.

Among the most common discomforts, those that occur in the knee or tendon stand out. In the latter case, it highlights the need to review some key signs and symptoms, such as punctual pain in the tendon after finishing sports activity or the next day, the presence of edema (swelling) and morning stiffness. The general muscle aches the next day or 48 hours after training, which are very common and do not require much attention, according to the professional.

“Yes it may be more worrisome that there is a sudden muscle pain during training, such as a sprint run, which may indicate a possible muscle tear. In that case, you certainly do not have to let yourself be and consult. The same we would have to do in the presence of some discomfort or pain that we are not so used to having during training or daily life, “he said.

How is the risk of injury linked to the surface chosen for running? Is there any better than another? “I do not consider that we should pay attention to the surface where we run, be it asphalt, treadmill or grass,” Novoa replied. question we should ask ourselves is if our body is prepared for that surface since it gets used to the imposed loads, to the increase in volume and intensity, to the environment where we run, whether it is cold or warm or even in height or at sea level. “

In relation to rest to perform better and avoid injuries, the professional pointed out that it is also linked to the needs of each runner. “An elite one will probably run almost every day and even with some days in double shift, while a recreational runner will do it two or three times a week,” he said.

What differentiates these two types of runners? “Many factors, but one of them and a very important one is the progression that loads have made throughout their lives in their volume of kilometers and in intensity. You can run 7 days a week but rest is also necessary. and is part, along with nutrition, of invisible training“Novoa stressed.

And added that it’s not just about stopping for at least one day, but also to check if you sleep well in the week, how many hours per day and if that time is of quality. “Scientific information to prevent injuries with this point is not yet very abundant, but not because rest is not important, but because the appearance of injuries is due to multifactorial causes, that is, many issues influence its development and it is still necessary to know how important and how much weight each risk factor has, “he said.

In case of injury, rest becomes a key piece. “Rest will depend on each injury. In the event of a muscle tear or a stress fracture, we must surely stop our training for a few days, weeks or months. But in other conditions such as patellofemoral syndrome or Achilles tendinopathy, resting totally will not be good. In those cases we will have to adjust the loads, either the volume or the intensity and progress slowly based on the symptoms after each training session, “he explained.

Another recurring query is for the need or not for supplementation. In this regard, the kinesiologist highlighted the importance of a nutritionist individually assessing whether it is necessary or not. Professional consultation contributes to improving eating habits, especially in runners seeking to improve their performance and preparing to run a race or marathon.

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