Ideally, a running surface should have good shock absorption and a healthy mix of up and down hill gradients. In reality most of us spend our time running the same road circuit day after day. Unfortunately given that roads are cambered to deal with surface water, runners will commonly present for physiotherapy with myofascial (muscle) adaptive changes. Therefore it is important to change your route frequently and also experiment with different surfaces such as grass, running tracks and AstroTurf which have excellent shock absorbance.
Listen to your body at all times during and after training. Runners are often the worst offenders when it comes to “running through the pain”. Remember that pain is a sign that the body is not comfortable with a certain activity and therefore should not be ignored. In the case of runners it is often due to micro muscle tears with can result in “DOMS” Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. Typically, symptoms present between 24-72hrs post run. It is a sign that the muscle has undergone micro trauma following eccentric exercise and it is important to rest and consume plenty of fluids during this period. Research suggests resting for approximately 3 days and on the 4th day reducing your running mileage to 50% of the previous run and reducing your pace to approximately a 9 min mile to facilitate the resolution of DOMS and to reduce the risk of injury. For those who find 3 days of rest too much, substituting running with swimming, static bike cycling or Pilates after 48hrs can help maintain levels of flexibility and minimise the risk of deconditioning.