How To Avoid Common Running Injuries
Some Running Tips
1. Increase your mileage slowly
Especially for new runners, a 10% increase in mileage per week is a safe start. Running injuries like shin splints (throbbing pains in shins) turns up as 15% of all cases in beginners, and is usually a result of over-training. Follow your running training plan to get the right increase and pay attention to rest days.
2. Take care when buying running shoes
The right running shoes are pretty key. They can be expensive, but so is paying for a physical therapist. It will completely change your running training experience. Shoes that fit well and can absorb impact in the right way are definitely worth the investment. Specialist sports shops will be able to video and measure your gait (the way you walk or run). They can help you choose shoes that you feel comfortable in and that will be good for you in the long term, minimising your chance of a running injury.
3. Look into low-impact running training
Running on concrete can wreck your knees. 40% of running injuries affect the knee, and ‘Runner’s Knee’ is up there for the most common. Pavement or downhill running will likely cause pain behind, around, or on the front of the knee. Even running on tarmac or asphalt is better for your knees, but of course trail or grass running will give you the softest landing. Cycling, swimming and cross-training also gives opportunities for fitness training that require no impact at all.
4. Stop running when in pain
Even though you definitely won’t want to, when you have joint or muscle pain, stop running. Usually runners feel pain in the knee and shin areas, and it’s better to rest and hopefully check it out than carry on straight away. Do some Googling, see a physical therapist (etc.) and follow their advice. You can do some of the low-impact running training above until you feel comfortable to run again.
5. How to deal with running pain
You can follow some basic tips that’ll stop your running injury from getting worse. Sleeping with your legs elevated, taking ibuprofen and using a compression (a tubigrip or other) to reduce swelling, and icing several times a day is a good start. You can also try to include body strengthening exercises into your running training plan — for both your core and lower body. Both will make you less vulnerable to recurring running injuries.
6. Warm-up and Cool-down
Warming up by stretching and dynamic movements beforehand can stop you twinging something while running. Cooling down though is just as important if you want to avoid tight muscles and stiffness. After a couple of stretches, you can loosen out your muscles post-run by foam rolling. Pay attention to your preparation and running recovery and you’ll prevent at least some running injuries.
7. Listen to your body
Most runners will probably know when they are pushing their bodies too hard. It’s difficult to pay attention to the signs though when training gives you the boost it does, and your running event is coming up. But, it will always be better to be able to run the next race than to push yourself over the limit this time. Take it slow and listen to your body — signing up to that running event can still be the best decision you ever made.