Overuse injuries can affect our running plans like nothing else. These are usually joint, ligament, and muscle issues that affect the lower extremities.
And often both beginner and elite runners are prone to injury. Over 50% of all runners get injured, with many of those occurring in the knee, shins, or Achilles tendon.
How To Prevent Running Injury
1. Know Your Limits
This is the top rule for avoiding all kinds of sports injuries.
Commonly referred to as doing too much, too soon, too fast
Our body needs time to recover and adapt to increases in speed or kilometres.
Pushing our body too much we will feel high levels of muscle pain.
Take plenty of rest.
We have to make sure to add recovery days and weeks to our training plan by taking a small break from training physically and mentally.
We should take one rest day a week, and space out those hard runs with hill repeats and sprints with some easier recovery runs.
During the off-time, we should cross-train with low-impact activities, such as swimming, low-intensity biking, or Yoga.
We should not increase our running kilometres by more than 10% from one week to the next.
2. Listen To Your Body
Overuse running injuries don’t happen overnight.
Most running injuries come with early warning signs discomfort, soreness, aches, and persistent pain but we should listen to them and take the right measures.
We should focus on an early warning system for pain, and do our best to get to the root cause of what’s causing it.
At the first sign of onset, whether it’s a pain that gets worse during a run or forces us to change our running gait, we should take some days off and re-evaluate our approach.
If the pain persists and/or it’s taking a toll on our body, we need to start paying attention, if our body hurts, we should not run.
3. Strength Train
Regular strength training helps improve performance and protects against injury by improving our structural fitness.
This helps our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones to better endure the high-impact nature of running.
Strengthening the hip muscles mainly the adductors, abductors, and gluteus maximum can boost leg stability to the ankles and prevent knee pain and injuries.
Strengthen our lower body muscles, especially our quads, glutes, and hip muscles.
To strengthen our arms and shoulders is also very efficient to support good running forms and our arms will be stronger to support our body and the impact on the ground.
4. Stretch Your Body
Like strength training, stretching is another off-road thing we can do to protect our body against common running injuries.
When we improve the range of motion of our running muscles, our body will move more efficiently and have less risk of injury.
Runners tend to be tight in the hamstrings, calves, hip flexor and glutes, so we are more likely to get injured in and around those areas.
Tight hamstrings can lead to knee pain and other muscle issues.
Tight calves are also bad since they have been linked to the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon injuries.
Three flexibility routines that can help stretch your running muscles and help you prevent injury in the process.
Foam Rolling And Full Body Stretches
When we get aching or painful joints or muscles, we should focus on R.I.C.E for immediate treatment.
REST-For example, if your knee hurts, take a few days off from running (Rest).
ICE- Ice the painful area for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day.
COMPRESSION- You can use compression, kinesiology tape or compression socks, which can help reduce inflammation and provide instant pain relief.
ELEVATION- Elevate the injured or sore body part to reduce swelling and pain.
6. Run On Proper Surfaces
Running on hard and/or uneven surfaces, like concrete or asphalt, puts undue stress on ligaments and joints.
And as a runner, the last thing we want is more impact.
Running often on hard surfaces, will be risking medial tibia stress syndrome, stress fractures, and other overuse injuries.
Do the bulk of your running on softer surfaces, be on a path through the park, a dirt trail, a bike path, a grass road, and other similarly yielding surfaces.
We can also head to the local track for a more firm and flat surface.
7. Proper Running Shoes
Running does not require a lot of equipment, but shoes are the most important.
We should make sure to have the right pair on according to our foot type and to make sure the shoes are not damaged.
We should go to specialty-running store and have our gait and foot type analysed by expert staff so they can help us pick the perfect pair.
It can be tricky for those with big feet or a big proportion of the front part.
We should replace our running shoes at least every six months- that’s about 650 to 800 kilometres of running.
This depends on our weight, size, foot strike, shoe type, and weekly kilometres.
The earliest warning of “wear and tear” shoes can take place on the heels part and big toe.
If we feel something not nice or sometimes we spot calluses in our heels, we have to change our running shoes.
8. Proper Running Form
Poor form can limit our performance and lead to undue pain and injury, leading to shin splints, back pain, limited performance, and more.
On the other hand, proper form will also help us run more efficiently, so we will run farther and faster with less fatigue.
To run in a relaxed manner with the least tension possible. As we run, we need to do our best to keep our entire body relaxed, especially our neck, shoulder, arms, and hands. We need to avoid clenching our fists, as this can lead to tightness in the arms, shoulders, and neck.
Keep looking ahead. We should be gazing at the ground about 4.5m to 6m ahead of us. We should never stare at our feet when running on the road, but on the trail. We have to.
Land on your midfoot. We should avoid heel striking, and focus on working on landing on the middle of our foot, then rolling through to the front of the toes.
Point your feet straight head. Running with our feet pointed in or out could increase the risks of injuries. So we should make sure to point our toes in the direction we want to go.
Benefits of Staying Active and Performing Some Training Exercises To Support Injury Healing And Recovery.
It’s hard to keep working out when we’re injured, but stopping all physical training may do more harm than good.
Inactivity may slow down our recovery and drastically lower our feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, and drastically setting us up for more trouble down the road.
Low-impact exercises such as swimming, Yoga, walking, or moderate strength training can substitute for running and help maintain cardiovascular power and sanity.
Focus On Proper Running Form, Techniques, Surfaces, Running Shoes, Strength Training And Appreciate No Injuries And Enjoy Some Great Strong Runs!