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Resume or start running 


Florence Charbonneau-Dufresne


With the arrival of good weather and the melting snow, many people will want to start or resume running following a break during the winter. Whether it is to get in shape, prepare for a competition or simply have fun, it is important to follow a few principles to reduce the risk of injury. Indeed, the majority of runners will be injured at some point in their lives. Some of the main injury factors include increasing the volume or intensity of training too quickly, two things that are likely to happen when you start or resume training too quickly.


To reduce your risk of injury, it is important to understand the concept of tissue adaptation. When we run, we put stress on the tissues of our body (bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, etc.). These tissues have the ability to adapt to the mechanical stress imposed on them, i.e. they become stronger, more solid and therefore more efficient after the start of a training program. On the other hand, if the stress (intensity and stroke volume) is greater than the ability of the tissues to adapt, they can be injured (stretched, torn, fractured). In this case, the person will then perceive pain in the damaged tissue. It is therefore important to start running gradually.

Several training programs exist to start or resume running. This must respect a gradual increase in the volume and intensity of training. In most cases, we will start with intervals of walking and jogging. Then we will slowly increase the volume (jog time). When we have reached a sufficient duration according to our expectations, we can then introduce faster running intervals interspersed with jogging. Then you can increase the duration of the running intervals or their number. Avoid increasing the volume and intensity at the same time to reduce the risk of injury. I recommend using the interval running program of Blaise Dubois, physiotherapist specializing in running, available on the Internet ().

Despite all precautions, you may experience pain during or after training. If so, do not hesitate to put ice on the affected area for 15 minutes immediately after training and within 2-3 days. Also stop or decrease your training for a few days. The important thing is to listen to your body, to prevent a small irritation from getting worse. If the pain persists despite rest, you can consult a physiotherapist. He can help you identify the affected tissue and the cause of the injury, then he can then set up a treatment plan personalized to your needs. The physiotherapist may also advise you to reduce the volume or intensity of your training or even to stop running for a few days depending on your condition. He will answer your questions and guide you in gradually resuming your training. The same injury can have various causes and/or contributing factors (lack of joint mobility, lack of muscle flexibility, lower limb misalignment, spinal dysfunction, etc.), so treatment will not be the same from one individual to another. , hence the importance of consulting a professional and having a treatment personalized to your needs.

It should also be remembered that the same principles apply to the resumption or the start of all sports, whether cycling, tennis, soccer, etc. So be careful this spring to be able to fully enjoy your sport without pain throughout the summer.


Florence Charbonneau-Dufresne, Ph.t.