It’s common for runners to have the occasional injury every now and then. In most cases, running injuries can be prevented by taking the right precautions and exercising common sense. But, what can you do to prevent running injuries?
In this article we’ll look at a few points that will help you stay safe while you’re running. Adhere to them and you will be injury-free.
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Your footwear is the most important part of this equation. You MUST get the best footwear that you can for your running. Do not wear cross-training or tennis shoes to run. The support that a running shoe provides is specific to the activity.
Ideally, you should stick to brand names like Nike, Adidas, Brooks or New Balance. The good brands create shoes that are made of premium quality material.
If you are flat-footed or have a high arch, you will need shoes with better support. There are places that custom make running shoes with special orthotics just to cater to your specific needs. Alternatively, visit a local sports shop. Some have treadmills instore and will be able to identify the best running shoe for you.
With the right shoes to absorb the impact while you run, the activity will be easier on your knees and joints in general.
Stretching and flexibility
Warming up properly before a run will help you to prepare the muscles for the activity. Running is a demanding exercise, and the muscles need to be warmed up and prepared sufficiently. Once warmed up, do some light stretching.
If you try to sprint or run moderately fast without any warm-up, you may risk tearing a muscle or setting yourself up for a bad case of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), that will hit you the next day.
Run on soft surfaces
When possible, try to run on soft surfaces such as grass or dirt. This is especially applicable if you are a long-distance runner. The constant pounding of your feet on the track will affect your joints adversely. Soft ground will absorb some of that impact. Running on a treadmill can also help reduce the impact on your feet and legs.
Increase your distance and speed over a period of time. One of the most common reasons why people get hurt during training is because they tried to do too much too soon. This is so true for new runners and a further reason why many give up.
While you should challenge yourself, you shouldn’t push yourself too far beyond your limits. It’s at times like these that injuries can occur. Know your body, train accordingly and avoid running injuries!
If you’re doing sprints and high interval training, it’s always best to have a 1-day rest after each session. Training too hard every single day will exhaust your body and take a toll on your nervous system.
You may not be able to give your best and focus while running. You could trip or sprain an ankle or suffer from muscle soreness that never seems to go away because you keep stressing the muscles. Rest adequately. Use rest days to do some gentle walking, or even do a Yoga class.
Coping with running injuries
The rule of thumb is that if you strain a muscle or sprain a ligament, you should rest until you are healed. Apply ice to reduce swelling and elevate the limb to ease the pain. Do not train on the injury.
If you are suffering from muscle soreness, over-the-counter pain relief medication should be enough to ease your pain. Generally, muscle soreness goes away after a day or two. So, rest well.
Follow these tips and train safely. Challenge yourself sensibly and don’t go beyond what you’re capable of.
With time and consistent training, you will get better and you will reach your goals without being injured or in pain