Most of us will get hurt during our running career; these tips will help minimize the chances of a major injury.
- Be honest with yourself. If you wake up feeling like you just got hit by a truck, take the day off. If you have pain that gets worse with running, stop! You should never “train through pain.” Substitute light walking, water training, or bicycling if you want. Just be honest with yourself, be kind to your body.
- Learn your limits. We see a lot of runners with stress fractures and other overuse injuries. The body is put under a lot of stress when you start ramping up your mileage. You can’t hurry Love or your body! Muscles and joints need time to adapt to intensity and mileage increases, if you rush things it’s an overload of strain on the body—and you’ll end up in the office with an injury. Slow down. 10% rule, build you weekly training by no more than 10% per week. If you recently got injured don’t try to get back into you routine as soon as possible, adjust your goals to your current state and move forward from there.
- Balance your Muscles. Strength training helps balance the body. The hips and core are the two biggest strength training areas. The hips are especially important because that’s what gives you overall leg stability. Try to keep your body symmetric and fluid when you run.
- PRICE. (Protect.Rest.Ice.Compression.Elevate )ICE is your go to pain reliever, whether a fancy ice pack, a baggie filled with ice cubes, or a frozen bag of peas—ice is your best friend when something hurts! COMPRESS with an ACE wrap, ankle brace, knee brace as needed.
- Change up the surface. Vary your surfaces, one day on the road, next on the track, then the treadmill day, and try to hit up a trail. Try to mix it up, it will decrease chances of injury.
- Check your stride. Over-striding increases stress so if you can shorten your strides you will soften the landing when you run. You’ll have to play with this, try to run at your current stride and make it shorter by 10%. This will decrease your impact load.
- Stretch it out. Runners get hurt in the areas that tend to be tight, the hamstrings and calf muscles and the hip flexors. Hamstring and hip flexor flexibility is proven to aide in knee functions; calf flexibility keeps the Achilles and plantar fascia ligament strong.
- Cross train. Cross training improves muscle balance which keeps us injury free. Swimming, cycling, elliptical training, and rowing will burn a lot of calories and improve your aerobic fitness.
- If the shoe fits. Don’t just buy it if you can squeeze your foot in it! Make sure it’s the right one for your foot type. Think about replacing your shoes every 300-400 miles. Consider custom inserts to help the form and function of your foot, the right pair can improve your stride just like a pair of eye glasses might improve your visual acuity.