There is a few reasons why runners get injured training for their next race. Injuries such as over training inflexibility, wrong shoes, ignoring the cues your body is giving you, just to name a few. It is a little hard to determine how exactly to stay injury free but there are a few tips to follow and you can decrease your chances of injuries.
KNOW YOUR LIMIT!! All us runners have a limit of running we do a week. Some different from others, I try to get the most in each week I can, but I try not to run over 20 miles a week (when not training). Whenever you go over your threshold you are bound to have an injury, the rule of thumb according to several professionals is to increase your miles by 10% at a time to lower the risk of injuries. With that comes the dreaded “Terrible toos!”–Too much, too soon!!! You can still pass your limits, but you’ll have to take a gradual and patient approach. Use the 10% rule as guideline, but know that it might be too aggressive for you—especially if you are injury-prone like me. I increase my mileage at around 5% at a time, so if I run 10 miles and want to bump it up i add another half a mile instead of the full mile. If you are a beginner runner, forget the rule and just run lol. Your body has to get used to running first in order to add mileage.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY- This is probably the most important tip that runners should follow to prevent injury…you can run through the pain, you can nip injuries in the bud. Most running injuries don’t come out of nowhere to say hello. They produce signals—aches, soreness, persistent pain—but it’s up to you to not dismiss them and take appropriate response. Yes us runners are crazy!?!?!? and some of us will not only run through the pain and ignore it because a close race that we will attempt to PR in. Know your body, listen to the cues it’s telling you. If you get an abnormal pain you’ve never gotten and can’t run through it, then stop and give it attention. Take a few rest days, if you don’t like rest days (I don’t) cross train. Do some exercises in the water, do light walking, but if your pain you should take minimum three rest days. I am NOT a professional, just speaking from experience and talking to fellow runners. When you do get back on track pain-free ease into it at a slower pace lower distance and gradually ease into your normal routine.
RICE IT!!!- When you’re muscle aches or have joint pains, there’s nothing better than rest, ice, compression, and elevation for immediate form of treatment. This solution can relieve pain, reduce swelling, and protect damaged tissues, all of which speed healing. RICE is most effective when done immediately following an injury. Apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. A homemade ice pack, a baggie filled with ice cubes and water. A bag of frozen vegetables is also effective. If you can, elevate the area to limit swelling. Compression can also further reduce inflammation and can provide pain relief, especially when you first return to running. An ACE bandage is the simplest way to wrap a swollen area, but compression sleeves like Zensa are very soothing, I have a pair I wear since I suffer from shin splints.Another excellent thing to try is KT TAPE. KT Tape provides targeted pain relief by relieving pressure and increasing circulation to help speed recovery. I LOVE LOVE this stuff!!!! Always works for my pains.
SHOES AND RUNNING SURFACES- Make sure to try to run on a level surface, the road is better than concrete. It make not always be easy to run on flat surfaces when if you have the chance do that inside of an uneven trail. If you can handle a trail run with no problem, then go for it!!! Shoes are a major impact on running. Having the wrong pair of shoes will definitely hinder your performance. Make sure your shoes fit well, and comfortable. They shouldn’t have more than 300 or so miles on them. My alpha has well over 400 miles in the same pairs of shoes and I’ve gone through three lol I don’t know how he does it but he remains injury free, while because of my condition I have them all the time..aaaanyway, if possible go to a running shoe store and they should guide you to the right pair for you =)
STRETCHING- YES, YES, I KNOW, this is a touchy subject with runners, as we still don’t know we should or shouldn’t stretch before a run. Personally I think we should do a lite stretch/warm up as the muscle we are going to use on a run are cold and tight, we should warm them and stretch them up so they aren’t as sore and painful after the run, but if they do R.I.C.E. it!!!!
Runners are stiff in predictable areas, they get injured in and around these areas, and so being they should increase flexibility in these areas. The muscle groups at the back of the legs—the hamstrings and calf muscles—stand atop most lists of “best muscles for runners to stretch.” Hamstring and hip-flexor flexibility seems to improve knee function, and calf flexibility may keep the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia healthy. Before each run I stretch these muscles including my lower back. I found the days that I don’t do that I have pain and I have to stop and stretch out midrun.
Make sure to listen to your body, when it’s in pain it warns you with aches and soreness. Don’t ignore it, attend to it before it gets worse making you spend less days on the road…just think about it, wouldn’t you rather spend 3 days off resting rather than 3 weeks????
SEE YOU ON THE ROADS!!