5 Steps to Reduce Running Injury
Running is an extremely popular median of physical activity! This is great as running provides many benefits such as stress release, an escape from computer and TV screens and other tech (except music of course that’s essential!); enhances the cardiovascular system, which is extremely important (and often left out of a workout plan) to maintaining a healthy heart. The list of benefits can go on and on but that is another topic!
Running is a great form of exercise, however, injury is very common! The most common types of injuries that occur are over use injuries (Shin Splints, IT Band Syndrome, Patellofemoral Syndrome, Strained Hip Flexors) and well freak accidents like dodging squirrels and birds! Ok maybe those don’t happen to frequently but potholes and roots can certainly slow you down, causing rolled ankles, abrasions, and contusions.
Here are 5 simple ways that I believe are a great way to avoid injuries:
- Take it easy when you first start! Find your starting point!
Many beginner runners are super eager at the start of a program. This eagerness is awesome but needs to be contained so that individuals don’t go too hard too soon. The negative sensations and soreness that eager beginners feel during, immediately following their first workout or even worse the next day could completely take demoralize them causing them to revert back into their old routine. we want to try and avoid this!
It is important when starting out to gradually progress! A starting point will vary from person to person according to your fitness levels. Don’t worry if your starting point is only a 400m walk, you will surprise yourself on how quickly you will improve!
- Progress Appropriately:
So you started at the perfect starting intensity for yourself. It is extremely important that your next intensity goes up slowly. For example 400 meter walk turns into a 600 meters walk after a week. A proper progression for this beginner would be adding 200 meters every week to their daily routine. This could be done for a couple weeks, then an increase in the tempo of the walk into a run. For those whose fitness levels are higher the same rules apply! For example, you run an average of 5km every other day. Your next step should be A) finish 5Kn run in less time (faster cadence) or B) go for a further distance .5 of a km or 1km progressions are definitely sustainable.
- Resistance Training Program:
Try adding some resistance training into your program! Now I know for many runners they started running because they don’t like the gym atmosphere! That’s perfectly fine because there are many body weight, resistant band and or small weighted exercises you may already have at home. Through these exercises you can address common muscle imbalances. A couple common imbalances are hamstrings overpowering gluteal muscles, calf stronger then tibialis anterior and so on. By addressing these imbalances you can improve, ground contact, technical form, and running efficiency.
- Choose your Surface Wisely:
An important factor to take into account when running is what the surface is:
- Made of (Track, Asphalt, concrete, grass, ect.)
- Terrain (uneven surface, uphill, downhill ect.)
- Weather conditions (wet or icy)
All these factors play a huge role in preventing injury. The harder, more uneven, or increasing and decreasing the grade of the surface exerts more force that your muscles will have to brace on every stride! Simply running on asphalt instead of concrete makes an enormous difference when it comes to shin splints. A great surface to start running on is a turf field! The surface is soft and flat greatly reducing impact on the body.