Ten Tips to Prevent Running Injuries
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live in." - Jim Rohn
Well, it's Sunday Runday and we wanted to share our ten tips to prevent running injuries. This list is for beginners as well as advanced runners. Everyone can apply these tips to improve their running game and prevent those nagging injuries that keep you from doing what you love. Consistency is key, so let's get down to how you can keep pounding that pavement and get off the training table.
This might sound completely obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't get enough water each day. If you're running consistently then you're sweating a lot. And if you're sweating a lot, you're probably hitting some level of dehydration.
Runner's World wrote a great article on how much water you should consume daily according to your body weight. Here's the short of it:
"Male Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .35
Female Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .31"
Pick the Right Shoes for You
Nowadays there are so many shoes to choose from it'll make your head spin. Just walking into a shoe store can be overwhelming. If we don't know what's good, we usually just pick something that looks cool. This can be detrimental and can leave us in agonizing pain just days later.
Do your research on what shoes are right for your foot. If you can't find anything, yourself, then consult with a running specialist about it. This tip only requires a little research so it should be easy to apply.
Active Warm Up Over Stretching
Stretching before activity has been advised for a long time. But it is possible to over-stretch. The more elongated a muscle is, the less it will be able to contract while using it. We want are muscles loose but responsive. Check out The Mattock Dynamic Warm-Up for a great active warm up routine.
In today's world, we are constantly over-stimulated with phones, TV's, social media, etc. It's very easy to get caught up in what someone else is doing. It produces this urge to progress at an insane rate which can produce injury or just burn us out. For example, have you ever met anyone that decided to a marathon because it's for a good cause and then they wind up getting shin splints or a stress fracture because they pushed themselves too hard too fast? It happens all the time. Know your limits and enjoy the journey. Otherwise, you might be taking a trip to the doctor.
Take a Rest Day
To prevent running injuries, taking a rest day is key. Trainers like Jillian Michaels have taught us that we need to drive our body into the ground, every day, to get results. This is not true. In fact, if you never rest, your body can never recover. Exercise, by its very nature, is catabolic, meaning we are tearing down our muscles. If we are constantly tearing our muscles down, and never giving them an opportunity to rebuild themselves, then something will eventually give. Take at least one rest day a week. Your body will thank you for it.
Foam rolling has really become a staple for bodily maintenance. Applying pressure to pain points for extended periods of time helps our muscles relax after a long training session. It doesn't always feel good in the moment, but you'll wake up feeling good the next day. Breaking Muscle wrote a great article about foam rolling along with a program to follow.
Strength wins overall. The stronger your body is, the less work it has to do to get the same result. And if your body is doing less work, you won't create the same amount of stress on it over time. Here's an article on BodyBuilding.com that talks about the importance of strength training for runners and how maintaining your muscle mass is healthier for your body.
Find a Good Training Program
If you want to progress at anything, it's very important to follow some type of program. They're designed to push you, make your better, and give you rest at very specific times. Most programs are very well thought out and created by very experienced runners. Pick a program that suits your experience level. You can always modify them as well.
Improve Your Form
When learning a new skill, it can feel awkward and weird to try something our bodies aren't accustomed to. You may have run a particular way your whole life, but that way of running may not be good for you long term. Improving your form can increase efficiency, take stress off your body, and prevent running injuries altogether. It's possible to make changes yourself but you may need to consult with a coach after a certain point.
Listen to your Body
Lastly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you're in a lot of pain, then your body is telling you to chill out. It amazes me how many people will push through pain just so they don't lose their results. There is a difference between being sore and being hurt. Figure out which signal your body is sending so you can stay healthy longer.
- Phillip Irwin