Don’t let your holiday break you – advice for surviving the summer break. 

Don’t let your holiday break you – advice for surviving the last of your summer break. 

The summer holidays are a great time to unwind, spend time with family and recover from a busy year of work and running.  It’s also a good opportunity to settle niggling injuries so you can start the new running year fresh and recharged.  

The holidays are often a time when people decide to get stuck into chores they’ve been putting off.  Just as dramatic increases in running training can lead to injury, so can doing a lot more repetitive physical labour than usual. 

One of the more common causes of lower back pain is from muscle and ligament strains caused by gardening and yard work. The repetitive movements of lifting and twisting combined with prolonged periods of poor posture and bending can lead to muscle fatigue, tightness and pain in the back. In more serious cases, a disc bulge can occur which often results in strong pain that can also be referred into your buttocks and legs.  

To reduce the likelihood of injury, there are certain things to remember:  

  • Divide large jobs into smaller tasks spread over a few days. 
  • If lifting or working in the garden, squat down by bending your knees rather than bending forward at the waist. 
  • Don’t twist your torso while carrying heavy objects. 

Just as spending the holidays doing chores can increase injury risk, time at the beach can also leave you worse for wear. With more time on your hands, it can be tempting to want to run more. Just as you wouldn’t – or at least shouldn’t – double your running training in a week during the running season, being on holiday is no different. Remember the following advice to avoid overuse injuries:  

Doug James (podiatrist, physiotherapist and runner)
  • Don’t exceed your total weekly running distance, and individual run distance by more than 10-20%.  
  • If running on the beach, beware of the camber (slope towards the water) as it can lead to ankle and knee injuries. Change your direction every few kilometres. 
  • Running on soft sand is far more stressful on your leg muscles than road running. 
  • Avoid the temptation to run barefoot on the beach unless you are used to running without shoes. 

The warmer weather often sees us walking around in unsupportive shoes, or bare feet which can give rise to a number of foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), sesamoiditis (ball of foot pain), and achilles tendonitis. Each of these injuries can take months to recover, so it’s best to avoid them happening in the first place. Take care of your feet with the following tips:  

  • Wear your running shoes if you are planning to do more than half an hour of walking. 
  • Oofos slides offer far better support and cushioning for your feet compared to thongs. 

Be sure to enjoy your time off this holiday season while avoiding any new injuries. Make the most of the opportunity settle any niggling injuries so you can start the next running season feeling fresh and recharged. Have any injuries you are carrying seen by a professional. The intraining running injury clinic has a team of experienced clinicians that will help get you on track for the next running season. 

Doug James  

Physiotherapist and Podiatrist