In this article, we will explore ways to avoid injury when running. I wish I knew some of this information when I did my first trail marathon as I came out in the end with plantar fasciitis.
Running can be a high-impact activity that can lead to injuries if not done correctly.
However, by following some simple tips, such as warming up properly, wearing proper footwear, gradually increasing mileage, cross-training, listening to your body, stretching after running, and resting and recovering, you can reduce the risk of injury and stay on track with your running goals. Let’s dive into it.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid injury when running is to warm up properly. A good warm-up helps to prepare your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system for the demands of running.
Start with some light cardio exercises like walking or jogging, then move on to dynamic stretching exercises such as lunges, leg swings, and knee raises.
Personally, for me, I will walk until I can feel those “everyday” pains subsiding and then start with a light jog until I get my rhythm and pace to the level I want. Whenever I went out too hard or too fast I would end up feeling something uncomfortable in my knees or feet. If you’re looking for a some easy actionable stretches, look at this video.
Wear Proper Footwear
Wearing the right shoes for running is crucial in avoiding injury. Make sure your running shoes are the right size and have adequate support for your foot type.
If you have flat feet or high arches, make sure your shoes have the appropriate support to help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, or stress fractures.
I initially started running in Adidas Ultraboosts which were a bit too lightweight for myself being heavy at that time and when I swapped to Brooks Glycerin’s which are more cushioned then I managed to reduce injuries and run further.
Gradually Increase Mileage
One of the biggest mistakes that runners make is trying to do too much too soon. Gradually increasing your mileage is crucial in avoiding injury.
Aim to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% per week. This will allow your body to adapt to the increased demands of running and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
Cross-training can help prevent injuries by strengthening muscles that aren’t used as much for running. Incorporate activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga into your training routine.
These activities can help improve your flexibility, balance, and core strength which can all contribute to injury prevention.
I never overlook strength training when it comes to running and focus highly on core work including planks and sit-ups.
Listen to Your Body
It is very important to listen to your body and not push through the pain. If you experience pain while running, stop and assess the situation.
Continuing to run through pain can exacerbate an injury and lead to a longer recovery time.
If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, seek medical attention to address the issue before it becomes worse through your healthcare practitioner.
Stretch After Running
Stretching after running can help prevent muscle soreness and injury. Focus on stretches of the major muscle groups used for running such as your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
Rest and Recover
Rest and recovery are essential to preventing injuries when running. Make sure to take at least one day off from running each week to allow your body to recover. Additionally, make sure to get enough sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet to support your training.
Frequently Asked Questions on Running Injuries
The most common running injuries are plantar fasciitis, shin splints, IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and hamstring strains.
There are several ways to prevent running injuries, including warming up properly, wearing proper footwear, gradually increasing mileage, cross-training, listening to your body, stretching after running, and resting and recovering.
If you experience persistent pain or discomfort while running, it is recommended to stop and assess the situation. If the pain does not subside or is persistent, seek medical attention to address the issue before it becomes worse.
It is important to take a break from running while recovering from a running injury. Continuing to run while injured can exacerbate the injury and lead to a longer recovery time. Instead, consider low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming.
Effective treatments for running injuries can vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is a common form of treatment for many running injuries. Physical therapy, medication, and surgery may also be necessary for more severe injuries. Consulting with a medical professional is recommended to determine the best course of treatment for your specific injury.
Remember to warm up properly, wear proper footwear, gradually increase your mileage, cross-train, listen to your body, stretch after running, and rest and recover.
By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of running without the risk of injury.
And the best part of all, you don’t need more than running shoes to get started.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.