Does it ever seem to you that some people are always getting injured? They may be great runners but they still frequently seem to be dealing with a running injury. While random things do happen that can cause an acute or even chronic injury, chances are that somewhere in that runner’s program they are skipping one or two of these important steps. Here are 10 essential tips that will help.
1. Follow a training plan
A good training plan will already have many of these tips built right in. It will help you vary your workouts, rest and recover when needed, add or reduce mileage when necessary, strengthen and balance your body.
What if you’re not training for a race? It still pays to have a plan that provides all of the above. As you’ll see with the rest of the tips, these things are vital to helping you avoid running injuries.
2. Don’t ignore small aches and pains
Small injuries can become chronic if not dealt with early, eventually forcing a runner to take extended time off of running in order to heal. Taking a day or two off when you feel a twinge in your knee or your heel can help you stay on the road. Remember though, that simply resting will not address the issue that may have caused that pain. Be sure to follow the other tips in this post.
3. Rest and recovery
Getting enough rest both during your active training and following your races is vital. Without it, your body will eventually start to break down. We get stronger when we are resting.
4. Get enough sleep
Like rest, getting enough sleep is vital to keep your body and your mind functioning properly. Sleep is when our muscles rest and repair, and not getting enough can lead to injury and overtraining.
5. Variety is the spice of running
Not only will varying your workouts make your running more interesting, but it will also help you avoid running injuries. One day a week, run longer, on another day, run shorter but faster, find different routes to run, including some with hills. Try running on the trails occasionally. By changing things up, you provide more balance to your body and your training.
6. Too much too soon can happen to experienced runners too
Just because you ran a marathon a few months back, then took two months completely off running doesn’t mean you’re ready to head out for a 10-mile run. That also goes for runners who reduced their running during the pandemic because there weren’t any live races to train for. Resuming higher mileage gradually will help you avoid running injuries.
7. Run in the right shoes
Get fitted for your running shoes at a good running store that will let you try them out to see how they feel. Most will let you return them if you find they don’t work for you. Have at least a couple of pairs, both to let them dry out completely between runs and to offer the same kind of variety that changing up your runs does.
Keep track of your shoe mileage. They have a life-span of 300-500 miles. After that, you will lose support and possibly risk injury.
8. Eat like a champion
How is eating related to avoiding running injuries? Proper nutrition will help keep you fueled, hydrated, and running strong. Without it, your form can suffer, you can feel tired, and that can definitely lead to an injury.
9. Strive for the best running form
Running with upright posture, staying light on your feet, and with good arm movement will not only help you avoid running injuries, but it can also help you run faster too. Learning to activate your glutes before your run, strengthening your core, and flexibility training can help.
10. Strength train to balance your body
Running is a great exercise, but it can create imbalances in your body that can lead to running injuries. Strength training can help address those imbalances. Weight training, yoga, and Pilates are all great choices. Be sure to include exercises to strengthen your core, hips, and glutes.