Here are five tips for preventing running injuries. Most runners suffer injury at some point but there are things you can do.
Footwear for preventing running injuries
Make sure you have the correct running shoes for your feet. No two pairs of feet are the same, however they do fall into specific categories. If you have flat feet which roll in too much (overpronate) when you run then you need a shoe with extra support on the inside of the sole to prevent overpronation.
If you have a very high arched foot then you need a neutral shoe with as much cushioning as possible.
Or you may need orthotic insoles which control the position of your heel. The Ultimate Performance Insoles are designed to help correct all foot types and provide additional cushioning.
Keep a training diary
Overtraining is probably the biggest cause of running injuries. Once you get the bug you want to run more and more. Often you won’t even know you are doing too much until it is too late.
To prevent running injuries the rule is only increase your running distance by 10% each week. So if you managed a total of 20 miles last week, then aim for 22 miles this week, then 24 miles next week. Make sure these are spread evenly throughout the week and you include rest days between. This gives your body time to recover.
If you keep a training diary then you can look back on how much training you did, how you felt and identify what went wrong.
Remember, you are not training when you are training, you are training when you allow your body to grow back stronger ready for the next training session.
Preventing running injuries by stretching
Stretching to prevent running injuries is controversial. There is conflicting evidence of the effects of stretching for preventing running injuries. However, the general consensus is until stretching is proven to have no beneficial effect, you should include it as part of your training.
You should stretch your lower leg and hip muscles gently before and after training. Dynamic stretching and mobility is probably better before training as it is preparing you more for what is to come. After training, gentle static stretches help relax your muscles and prevent them tightening up.
In particular you should stretch the calf muscles and hip flexor muscles, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Your hip flexors adaptively shorten with prolonged sitting.
If running is the only form of exercise you do then you are limiting your ability to strengthen your lower leg muscles. Strengthening exercises for the hip muscles, quadriceps and calf muscles helps improve your running style and biomechanical efficiency. As a result, your risk of injury reduces.
Warm up for preventing running injuries
Yes, you have probably heard all about warming up many times so I won’t go on about it now. Often runners don’t bother to do much, except before a race. At the very least take it easy for the first half mile or so of a run, then stop for a gentle stretch.
A good warm up consists of a pulse raiser (gentle jog with some strides) and then a few stretching exercises, preferably dynamic exercises for the hamstrings and hip flexors.
Learn more about running injuries.