Everything to Know About Running Injury Prevention : Around 80 percent of runners will experience an injury at some point in their running career. There are many precautions you can take to protect yourself. Running injury prevention is easier than you think.
This is especially true for soft tissue injuries, like knee issues and tendinitis. If you’re wondering how to run without injury, this guide has the answers for you.
One of the best ways to avoid running injuries is to start with a good warm-up. Many people recommend starting with some light stretches before you hit the treadmill.
Be careful not to stretch too deep here. Just as you could hurt yourself by jumping into your run workout cold, you may strain a muscle by overstretching. Worse, you may not notice until you’re part of the way through your run workout.
If you suspect you’ve gone a bit too deep, trying walking it off.
Once you start your run workout, it can be easy to jump straight into speed work. Instead, take a few minutes to warm up.
Hitting race pace right off the line is important if you’re doing the 10-meter dash. It’s not going to serve you well on a longer run.
Instead, slow your pace and give yourself a chance to warm up. This allows your muscles to get working, which reduces the risk of injury and strain.
Prevent Running Injuries by Adjusting Your Effort
Running with a purpose or goal is important for your workout. With a goal, you can push yourself further and run faster than you might otherwise.
You might also injure yourself. Running up hills or on rocky terrain is more challenging and demands more of the body than a flat, smooth track. Running into a headwind takes more effort than running with a tailwind pushing you.
What does this mean for injury prevention? It means you should run according to conditions. At the very least, adjust your goals from pace to perception.
Your pace may suffer in a headwind or on tricky terrain, but your perceived effort should feel about the same. Instead of using the clock to determine whether your workout was a success or not, listen to your body. If you’re pushing yourself too much to make those times, you risk injuring yourself.
Listen to Your Body for Running Injury Prevention
Another trick for running without injury is to listen to your body. Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
You can run through some pains. A cramp, for example, will often fade and relax if you keep pushing. Other pains, especially sharp, persistent pain, could be a sign of injury.
Continuing to run in these situations could either create an injury or make an injury worse. Instead of risking it, take things down a notch. Find a pace that you can comfortably maintain without pain.
If you can’t find a comfortable pace, it’s time to end the workout. Chances are you’re already injured, and continuing to run will only make the problem worse. It’s better to take one easy day than risk being out for weeks or months.
Cross-Train and Build Strength
Some studies have shown that triathletes are injured less often than runners. The leading theory is the cross-training between sports provides more balance and rest.
First, participating in other sports allows you to work different muscle groups. Next, it allows you to rest the muscles you use for running.
Swimming, for example, uses much more of your upper body, giving you a chance to build strength here. While you still use your lower body, you’re working the muscles in different ways. You’re also not experiencing the same impacts you would while running.
If it’s possible, try to switch up your workouts so your run muscles can get a well-deserved break every now and then.
Another thing you should do is work on strength. Your form may be off while you’re running, and that’s often due to weakness in one area of the body. A weak core, for example, may lead to back pain or poor alignment.
Weak leg muscles can also lead to trouble. If you have weak hamstrings, for example, other muscles may try to compensate. This can lead to knee issues, as the alignment of the leg is thrown off and the joint ends up bearing the brunt of impacts.
That’s why one of the tips for preventing runner’s knee is strengthening your muscles. You might think running alone will help. Specific, targeted exercises for each muscle group can help avoid injury.
Find the Right Shoes
Shoes won’t save you from every running injury, but they can help. The firmness of a shoe’s cushion, for example, can change the stiffness of your legs.
That can change how much flex you have at the ankle, knee, and hip. In turn, that influences how the forces of running affect you. The right shoe will lessen the destructive force of impacts, helping you steer clear of injury.
Change How You Run
If you’re running injury-free, it’s probably best not to tamper with a good thing. If you’re constantly injured, you may want to consider changing how you run.
Your form is one concern. If your form is poor, you’re more likely to injure yourself running.
Your foot-strike may be another factor. Some people believe you may be able to avoid running injuries by striking with your forefoot or mid-foot, rather than striking with your heel.
Over-striding is another potential issue. This happens with the foot lands well in front of the knee. It increases wear and tear on the muscles.
Stay One Step Ahead of Injury
Running injury prevention is easy with the right precautions. Building stronger muscles, finding the right shoes, and switching up your workouts can all help. It would also be smart to apply muscle tapes to knees, joints, or the ankles in advance to avoid strain and for additional support while running.
We have plenty of advice to help you stay fit and healthy, no matter what sport you choose.
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