Running Injuries- They are the bane of most runners. Having to take days, weeks or even months sometimes due to injury is something everyone hates. As a result, many scour the internet and take advice from others on how to avoid or recover from (pick the injury). But my question to those searching is…is the information you are getting RELIABLE or RIGHT for you and your particular circumstances? Unfortunately in many instances the answer is NO to both of those questions…which means SUFFERING with pain longer than necessary.
As a runner myself, I have dealt with more injuries than I can count. And this does not include my foot surgery. Most of my injuries were the result of over-training or an imbalance in my body. What I have learned over my 2 decades of dedicated running are things I wished I knew much earlier. As a result of all my injuries, rehab I went through, and my professional learnings, I learned several important things to keep me running without issues.
So, for all those runners out there searching for the secret to running injury-free, here are some suggestions for you.
- Know your training zone: Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for that race. It is not wise to rush marathon training (this is a sure fire way to get injured). Progress your time or distance smartly. No more than 5-10% max increase in distance each week (especially if inexperienced). Take those recovery days seriously- NO need to run hard for pride with others.
- Strength training: I know that (distance) runners are not a fan of this, BUT it is VITAL. This does not have to be done every day, but at least 3x/wk is advised. It becomes even more important the longer you run. Why is that? Because if your muscles do not have the strength endurance to last long distances, your form will suffer. Once form goes, then who knows where the strain will build in your body. The MOST IMPORTANT area to make sure is strong is your butt muscles (especially the ladies). Your butt muscles control the hips/pelvis; if you have no control there, your knees, ankles, or even back are at risk. Here are 2 of my favorite hip strengthening exercises (Here and Here). Having a “strong” core is also good because of the energy transfer between your upper and lower halves.
- Rest after long or training runs: It is not wise to finish that weekend run and then run about cramming everything you can into your day (i.e. shopping, yard work). Take some time to rest, ice, stretch, get calories in, etc. Your muscles need time to recover (with your feet up) and even then it would be wise to simply take it easy. Too often people finish a run feeling good but later in the day when running around start to notice issues creep up (been there- done that).
Other areas that some feel and are important include: running surface and route, footwear, stretching, and hydrating among others.
What you should know is that we all have the power to reduce the likelihood of sustaining and injury by taking care of our bodies (accidents, slips and falls aside). If you are searching for even more information about avoiding or recovering from injuries, or just looking to enhance your performance, then grab your FREE copy of my Running Guide. In it, I expand on these points and offer many more tips and pointers I have learned from my own injuries and my time rehabbing runners.
Here is to weeks, months, and years more of running healthy