How to Avoid Running Injuries

March 31, 2012 · 1 comment

This is a guest post by Brandon Serna.

Running injuries are common for both beginning and expert runners; something many runners don’t know is that most injuries can be easily prevented. Many problems occur because of muscle exhaustion, poor form or overuse. You can avoid injury by simply listening to your body and taking certain precautions. In addition to getting plenty of rest each night and staying hydrated during and after workouts, there are numerous steps you can take to protect your muscles and joints while running.

Avoid Running Injuries

Plan Out Your Routine

You should have a plan before beginning any running regimen. Many injuries are due to overzealousness. Include in your plan a complete stretching and warming up routine. Loose, warm muscles function better than cold, stiff ones. Select a quality pair of running shoes that have adequate cushioning, and never run in worn-out sneakers. Replace your shoes after approximately 400 miles of use.

You may also want to choose a good surface to run on rather than heading out without a strategy. Select areas that absorb shock, and avoid running on concrete. Look for a straight path instead of one with multiple turns. For added resistance to movement, try running on an aquatic treadmill. These machines are used underwater and can help decrease the pressure you put on your joints when you run.

Treating Your Body Right

One of the biggest mistakes runners make is to train too much or too soon. When you want to add intensity or mileage to your routine, increase your numbers gradually. Know when you’re doing too much. Add non-impact cardiovascular exercises to your regimen, and create a schedule that mixes easy workouts with hard ones. Be consistent, and avoid skipping too many consecutive days.

Another way to avoid injury while running is to always use proper form. Instead of taking long, ambitious strides, try shortening your steps. Keep your shoulders relaxed to prevent neck or upper back strain. In order to protect the rest of your muscles, incorporate some kind of strength training for your entire body. This will not only give you balance, it will help you improve your overall form while running.

If you feel your muscles straining, it’s essential to take the proper steps toward recovery. Massage or water therapy after a workout will relieve tired muscles. Letting your muscles recuperate is one of the most important steps in preventing serious injury. By taking care of your body today, you can enjoy running for many years.

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Frosty's Mom April 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm

While it’s noted above that proper form and low-impact cardio are essential to a healthy runner’s body, the importance of weight training was left out. I believe it is crucial to weight train (whether with your own body weight, i.e. - squats & lunges, or with free weights/machines), this will ensure strong quads…which essentially ensure stronger knees. And let’s not forget the importance of a strong core! :)

As someone who has had to have knee reconstruction (due to genetic issues) I know how important strength training your core and and lower body. Just my two pennies…

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