There is nothing worse than getting ready for a big race and getting hurt. Getting injured ranks as one of the “real bummer” moments for a runner. Though there are many factors that lend themselves to a runner getting injured, there are some key ways you can prevent them. Here are some of the more important ones:
- Warm-Up Before Running — If you are new to running walk for a couple of minutes prior to running. This gives your body a chance to adjust to increased activity. After walking, jog, and then as your breathing settles start your running workout. If I don’t warm up, I find it take me a good half mile to a mile to settle into my “easy” running pace. Once I’ve ran two miles at an easy pace, I’m ready for more rigorous running, such as intervals or a threshold pace.
- Don’t Over Train – A sure way to get an injury is to train too hard too fast. You need to give your body time to adjust to running and the demands you are placing on it. As a rule of thumb, don’t increase your weekly mileage more than 10% from one week to the next. So If your running ten miles this week, don’t go for 15 the next, instead, settle for 11. Related to this is that your longest run of he week should increase, week over week, by 10% either.
- Give Your Body a Break – You body need time to rest and recover from your workout. Beginning runners shouldn’t run more than three or four days a week. It is generally recommended you rest every other day. During your rest day don’t do any exercise that would put strain on your legs such as walking. It is OK to cross-train, so swimming and riding a bike are OK. The key is to avoid activities that would jar your legs and put a lot of strain on your muscles.
- Do cross-training activities — The purpose of cross-training is to develop and strengthen your running muscles through other physical means such as swimming, biking, and hiking. It is best to incorporate cross-training activities in your running program at least once a week. Remember, however, that cross-training activities are supposed to improve your stamina and not to stress your body out and leave you with less energy for running.
- Use Good Shoes – I would rank a good pair of running shoes near the top of the list of important running gear you should own. I would recommend going to a running store and getting fitted for a good pair of running shoes. The number of brands and models of running shoes is bewildering. The running store assistant can help evaluate your foot type and recommend several pairs that are best for your body build and foot type. Try ’em on and go with what fits best.
As that say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Our bodies are remarkable and able to adapt beautifully to the demands we place on them; however, they can breakdown and need to be taken care of properly. If you practice these preventative measure, you’ll be less likely to injure yourself.