FEELING GREAT: Suffering from runners’ regret?

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If you’re aged between 45-65 and are the daily the victim of regular hip and knee problems caused by years of running, something that I call ‘Runners Regret’ is likely to be something your now having to live with.

And if you haven’t made it into this age bracket yet, it might be something that it’s time to consider how to avoid it happening to you.

And what I mean by Runners Regret is that after years and years of the feel good benefits of being an addicted runner, you are set to face up to the rest of your life suffering from hip and knee problems. Worse still, knowing that they are self-inflicted.

So are you having any runners regret? It’s a conversation I raised just recently with a very health conscious and inquisitive family member of mine. I have an uncle who has spent his entire life playing local cricket and football and is now addicted to the feelgood chemicals of running and being fit.

And despite being now aged 60+, a time when you might expect hip and knee problems to have surfaced, he’s so far managed to dodge them.

And his secret is nothing other than choosing to avoid running on hard surfaces.

Instead, he opts only for grass or sand. Always has and always will.

It’s no secret that running on the hard concrete surfaces isn’t great for your joints. Not in the long run anyway.

And it’s a topic that we got brought up after commenting on how motivating it is to see so many people out running around town these days.

From jogging along Seaton front, to groups of runners such as the Burn Road Harriers running around Ward Jackson Park, right now Hartlepool is a town flush with people loving being out and active in the fresh air.

But here’s the thing. Despite a huge open grass field available at the park, or the soft sand of the beach at Seaton, people will forever insist on choosing the hard surface of the path or promenade.

Sure, running on the road or concrete is great for strength and stamina. But what people don’t consider is something I call the Big Five.

Not the kind you might expect to find at a game reserve in Somewhere like South Africa, but the Big Five of keeping fit.

And you need all of them to have any chance of reducing pain and injury and avoiding living with runner’s regret.

They are strength, control, flexibility, balance and stamina. And what they do collectively, if you pay attention to them all, is combine to protect your self from joint problems and the possibility of hip and knee replacements.

It isn’t a guarantee, but sure beats the odds of suffering if you neglect them.

And unfortunately road running ticks only two of those boxes – strength and stamina.

Running night after night on the hard surface is an easy habit to fall into, but does nothing to help your flexibility, balance or muscle control.

Now you know why you need to vary your training, if your wanting to avoid runners regret, read this column over the next few weeks and I’ll explain how.