When it comes to injuries, prevention always beats cure. In this post we take a look at how you can keep injuries at bay when running.
Running as a sport is certainly up there when it comes to injury rates and the rate among even trained runners still hasn’t decreased over the last 30 years.
One thing that all the experts seem to agree on is that the cause of running related injuries are difficult to manage given the number of factors that come into play; injuries can be related to age, weight, biomechanics or even training frequency!
While a common suggestion might be to change shoes or switch running styles, true injury free running starts with understanding your own body, training smarter and controlling the controllable.
1: 10% Increases
One of the most commonly ignored pieces of advice is to only increase your mileage by 10% each week. There’s a reason why this advice is so popular – to prevent injuries! Too many miles too quickly doesn’t allow your body to adapt properly and means that you stand a very good chance of picking up and injury.
2: Pick The Right Program
Not all training plans are created equal; be smart and gauge your abilities honestly. There’s no point in following a sub 3-hour marathon training plan if you’re aiming for 5 hours.
3:Be Careful With Advice
As you progress through your running career, chance are you’ll join a club and as a newbie you’ll get heaps of friendly advice from fellow members. While some advice is good, other tips, particularly around training could be detrimental.
4: Switch off
When you switch off during a run something magical happens; your body relaxes and your chance of injury greatly reduces.
Again, it may seem like counterintuitive advice but when you overthink your running your body will tense up which will increase the chance of injury.
5: Shoes – Buy What You Need
We’ll be honest, when it comes to running shoes only buy what you need. The sports marketing machine will often greatly over hype their latest and greatest product so make sure if you are reading running shoe reviews make sure it’s from a trusted source.
6: Own Your Own Style
Chi, pose, barefoot and even backwards, the number of different running styles that come highly recommended seems to increase each year. However, just as with advice, what works for your club mate might not work so well for you.
7: Alternate Shoes
Another shoe related tip, if you own more than one pair of running shoes make sure that every so often you alternate your normal shoes with a different pair. What seems to work well for us is spending our Monday to Friday run in our normal road training shoes and then hitting the trails on a weekend in our trail running shoes.
8: Post-run Stretch
Always stretch at the end of the run and as you become fitter you should look to increase the amount of time you spend stretching your muscles.
The key to stretching and injury prevention is consistency. To avoid injury you should either be a consistent stretcher or a non-stretcher… never a part-timer.
It’s tempting, especially when training is going well, to continue pushing hard, This plan always seems to go extremely well right up until the point where injury strikes. After every third or fourth week of training make sure you take a week off to train lightly and allow your body chance to adapt.
10: Doctor Knows Best
If you do begin to experience a slight niggle in your muscles or joints, make sure that you seek professional advice. Getting treatment early makes it much easier to recover sooner.