7 Simple Injury Prevention Tips for Runners
Sometimes we over think things. We make things that are actually quite simple, complicated and overly scientific. Giving injury prevention tips for runners is not an exact science. Research doesn’t provide a clear picture of what injury prevention actually looks like. It’s a tough topic to study because everyone is so different.
That is not to negate or ignore research. It’s important to keep up to date with the research and continue to search for answers but let’s not make this more complicated than it should be.
1. Let’s start with Shoes
Get fitted at one of the many great running stores we have in the Twin Cities. The right shoe can make a big difference. Remember, shoes typically last 300 to 500 miles, so keep track of your mileage in a particular shoe. If you just can’t seem to get yourself to track mileage of a shoe, then pay attention to your body. When you feel new aches and pains that creep up without an obvious association to your training (i.e. intense hill workout, speed workout, etc.) then it may be time for new shoes.
2. Switch things Up
Don’t run the same route every day. Don’t run the same mileage every day. Don’t run with the same people every day. Your body needs you to mix things up in order to become more adaptable. The old saying “Your body likes to do today what it did yesterday” applies. If you get stuck in a rut, your body will want to stay in the rut.
3. Get Stronger
You need to keep up a good strengthening program if you expect your body to stay injury free. It will help with form and stamina. There isn’t a perfect strengthening routine. Again, everyone is different. Don’t forget your upper body and core which are important to maintaining the proper posture while running.
I prefer runners stretch post-run but I’m not against a pre-run stretch as long as you perform and adequate warm up. You should work up a slight sweat before you stretch if you opt for the pre-run routine. Dynamic stretching is great but static stretching works too (I see it every day).
5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Water is the best and will always be the best option for hydration. Our body is smarter than any scientist in a laboratory making up the next great concoction that we should drink to stay hydrated. Your body prefers water.
6. Know your Limits
This is where I see the most injuries happen. This is the typical “too much, too soon”. Ease into your increases in intensity and mileage. Avoid steep changes in your training. Most experts suggest a 10% increase in volume or intensity. This allows for your body to slowly adapt and hopefully limit injuries. If you do feel pain, your body is telling you to stop. Listen! Then seek a professional to treat it so you can get back to training.
7. Injuries Happen
It’s part of running. You can do all of the prevention in the world but I promise, as a runner, you’ll still get injured. It’s what you do next that is key. Get treatment ASAP. Waiting only allows more scar tissue to form and recovery will take longer. That’s not to say you should give up trying to prevent injuries. Proper preventative steps can help diminish the degree of injury, frequency of injuries and improve the amount of time it takes to recover.
Don’t let injuries get the best of you!
We all love running. That’s why we’re here. But sometimes injuries provide a necessary break from running and give you an opportunity to try something new like biking, swimming, yoga or rowing. Roll with it.
Continue on the road to recovery but find a way to enjoy the journey back to running.