Running and jogging is a great exercise. It’s a fantastic way to get the cardio workout you need, lose weight, stay in shape and even relax the mind by getting away from it all for a while. However, there are some risks of injury that come with running so it’s important that you learn about these and how you can avoid them.
Statistics often say that more than 65% of runners will experience some type of injury. This will cause medical bills, lost training time, rehab time and more. It can also cause pain that will affect your ability to run, possibly for the rest of your life. This is why it is very important that you learn how to avoid injury while running and that every time you run, you take the proper steps to be safe.
Preventing an injury is one serious issue especially for those that run regularly, as well as those that are training a particular race. In these cases injury prevention is not only important because it helps the runner to avoid a painful injury and potentially long recovery period but it is also critical because an injury can disrupt the training schedule and result in the runner not being properly prepared for the race or event. This article will provide some basic tips for runners which will help them to prevent injuries.
The best way to avoid injury while running is to make yourself aware of the common problems that can result while
running so you can recognise them and treat them as well as prevent them when possible. For example, a common injury to runners is overuse.
When you overuse your muscles, you can cause serious injury. This often happens from a lack of proper form or when you push yourself without the proper training. When you run with bad form, your body will not function as it is supposed to and this causes it to break down faster, leading to injury. The first step to proper running form is the right pair of running shoes.
Another common problem which leads to injury is weak tendons or muscles. This is caused by running with incorrect form, poor shoes or training only on flat surfaces. These will cause certain muscles to become weak and atrophy and those muscles are needed for balance and stabilisation. They can then become injured during running or cause you to fall and become injured.
You can avoid this by including natural surfaces in your training and making sure you run with proper form and
always stretch to warm up and cool down properly. The next most common cause of injury is accidents. Many accidents are unavoidable but there are some that can be prevented. When you learn the proper techniques to avoid these accidents, it will help prevent running injuries in the long term.
You should also be sure to wear reflective gear when running on the streets, especially at night. Be sure to cross intersections and roads carefully as well. Running is great exercise and good for you but it should be treated like a sport like any other. Take the proper steps and you can avoid injury.
Tips for Preventing Injuries While Running
If you’ve ever run, chances are you’ve thought about your knees, or maybe another part of your body. Am I wrecking them? Am I doing all the right things to take good care of them? Fortunately, there a lot of things you can do to prevent knee injuries while running for fitness. Here are a few tips to follow:
Wear Proper Shoes
First on the list is wearing the right shoes. Whether you’re running for fitness, running for weight loss or
training for your next big event, you need to make sure you’re in the right shoe. I could write a book on shoe selection (and probably have!) but your best bet is to go to a speciality running store and talk to experienced staff.
A running store will have the knowledge and experience to match up your running gait, and training plans with
the proper shoe. Wearing the wrong shoe while running can contribute to all sorts of problems.
Running in the wrong shoe can only be a sign of trouble. Improper running shoes increase the likelihood of serious
running injuries such as shin splints and Achilles tendinitis and other foot problems. Therefore, before going on a run, check first your running shoes and assess if they’re a good match. If they’re not, head to your local sportswear store and pick the right running shoe. Otherwise suffer the dire consequences.
Keeping those shoes run-ready will also help protect your knees. Don’t wear them for anything except running. Let
them have some rest after a run. When I’m training intensely, I buy 2 pairs of shoes and alternate them. The extra days off gives the mid-sole material time to recover so it can be there to protect me on my next run.
The easiest way to hurt yourself is to over train. Over training occurs when you train more than your body can
recover from between training sessions. As that happens, your joints, muscles and connective tissue start to suffer cumulative damage and that’s when injuries occur. Your body needs time to recover from the repetitive stress of
running. Take a day off from running at least 1-2 days per week. If you’re training for a really challenging event, consider the next tip.
Mix it Up
While running for fitness stresses your body in mostly the same way every time you run, cross-training will
challenge your body and develop stronger joints, connective tissues and muscles. Those will not only leave you fitter and stronger, but will actually make you a better runner.
Cross training activities include things like swimming, biking, hiking, weight training or anything physical that
elevates your heart rate and challenges your muscles. Pick your favourite non-running activity and add it to your training program.
There is evidence to suggest that runners who stretch regularly are less likely to have injuries than those who
stretch only occasionally. You do need to be careful however that you follow good practices such as only stretch warm muscles. That means post-run stretching is good. Pre-run stretching can be good, but you need to warm up first or be very careful that you don’t overstretch and injure yourself.
Find or develop a good stretching routine and follow it. You can always book an appointment with us and we can work together to develop a tailored stretching routine for your needs. Your joints will thank you..
Watch Your Form
Every runner has a unique running form. I’ve always been able to recognise runners I know even from hundreds of
meters away; their running gait gives them away every time. While it’s nice to know that we’re all unique as runners, you don’t want a unique running style that leads to injury.
If you’re having knee or other joint problems, seek some help. A running coach can analyse your running gait and
make suggestions for improvements. If coaching isn’t in your budget, perhaps consider having a friend videotape your running (outside or on the treadmill) so you can analyse it yourself. Some minor adjustments to foot placement and leg swing can help to keep you away from knee issues.
Start With the Warm-Up
Pushing your running pace from the get go is an invitation to premature fatigue, discomfort and injury. Instead,
make sure you’re well warmed up before you pick up your running pace. A decent warm-up consists of a 5-10 minutes jog at slow pace, some light stretches and taking deep breaths. This well get your body well prepped for the hard task ahead, thus help improve your performance.
Pick Your Pace
When it comes to picking the right pace, you need to find yours and build on it. Many runners try to run in the
shoes of more advanced athletes only to face exhaustion and injury later on. This is no good. As a result, next time you’re running, make sure to do it within a comfortable pace. One way you can make sure to do that is to run at a
conversational pace, meaning that you can carry on a conversation and run at the same time without much trouble. If you find it hard to do so, then you may need to scale the intensity down a bit.
Choose the Right Running Surface
Opting for the wrong running surface can be spell disaster on your running program. Usually sidewalks and paved
roads are not the best running routes. These surfaces add to the high impact nature of running, thus increasing the likelihood of overuse injuries such as bone fractures and runners knee. As a result, make sure to do the bulk of your
training on softer terrains such grass roots or dirt trails.
Work On Good Form
When it comes to running, developing good form mechanics is critical for performance and injury-free training. Sadly enough, most runners, beginners or not, make the assumption that proper form should only concern competitive runners. This is wrong. Opting for a bad form is the recipe for disaster. Expect discomfort, pain, premature tiredness as well as a number of injuries such runner’s knee as well as Achilles tendinitis if you opt for this approach.
End With a Cool-down
Ending the training session with a proper cool down is the ideal strategy for speeding up recovery and warding off
soreness and injuries afterwards. A decent cool-down helps you to get your breathing and heart rate under control. Stopping on the spot will leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or woozy.
Therefore, make sure to end your workouts with a decent cool-down. Reduce your running pace into an effortless
jog, breathe deeply and stretch gently.
Make sure to stretch your lower back, groin area, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Hold every stretch for at least 30-seconds as a minimum and breathe in deeply into each pose to release any build-up tension.
Take Ample Recovery
Taking enough recover between each running session is critical for staying injury-free and getting the most out of your training program. Recovery helps your body to adapt properly to the training load, so the body can get stronger on future workouts.
Here are few recovery guidelines:
– Keep relaxing your body throughout the training session. Tension only causes discomfort and energy waste.
– Instead of landing on the heels or the toes, aim to land more on the fore-foot. Heel striking is form flaw which
lead to inefficient running and serious injuries such as runners knee and back
– Keep the head slightly tilted forward, eyes gazing 20 feet ahead.
– Keep your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Don’t hold your hands way up to the chest, instead keep them at waist level.
– Keep posture erect, straight and relaxed every time.
– Space out your training days with a recovery day-especially after a hard workout
– Get your sleep needs met. Aim for at least 8 hours of high quality sleep.
– Eat for recovery; Make sure to replenish you energy tanks immediately following a workout. Aim for a healthy
combination of carbs, lean protein and the good fats.
These prevention’s tips will help you achieve staggering consistency with your running program while
steering clear of injuries and setbacks.
Nonetheless, you need to take action now and put into practice what you’ve just learnt, otherwise your progress will be limited.
Finally, runners can help to prevent injuries by taking care to avoid doing too much mileage too quickly. An individual who has not been running at all and attempts to immediately start running 5-7 miles per day is likely to experience a number of different injuries.
Those who have not been running regularly are advised to start out with only a couple of miles a day. Even experienced runners can cause injuries by attempting to increase their mileage too quickly.
You should aim to make mileage increases as gradual as possible and try to limit yourself to increase of no more than 10% per week to avoid injuries commonly associated with over training such as shin splints and stress fractures.