In 2017 6,800 runners were sampled from the U.S.A. 75% of all the runners sampled admitted to having at least one runner related injury during 2017 (Running USA) This statistic is mind-blowing. Why are the majority of runners injuring themselves? Do I have an exact answer? No, but here are ten strategies to help you rethink the way you run.
Stop chasing other runners during a race
Are you a chaser? Do you speed up during a race because the color of a person’s shirt just gets you angry and you just have to pass that ugly shirted runner? If someone tries to pass you, do you purposely speed up for a short amount of time so they won’t pass you?
There’s a time and place for you to pass the runners in front of you and the runners that try to pass you. Try to do this in the latter part of the race. As long as you’re passing the runners at a steady pace then, by all means, pass them early in the race.
Do you warm up before you run? This is a no-brainer, right? Well believe it, or not some people put on their shoes and hit the road running. If you’re crunched for time, then walk for a minute or two before you start running.
Take the time to cool down when you are done running your miles for the day. Stopping all together after running without cooling down could be a major contributor to running-related injury. The older you get, the more this problem could be exacerbated. A 5-minute walking cool-down period is better than stopping cold.
Stretching is an important activity before running as well as after you’re done logging your miles. When I first started running, I wasn’t stretching properly. I now do some simple dynamic stretching before running such as over ins, knee raises, and side gallops. After running, I stretch my quads and perform some raised hurdler stretches as well as ground hurdler stretches.
Related: What Is Dynamic Stretching?
Roll it out with a foam roller or trigger point massage ball
Sometimes after running your legs might be sore or even form some tight knots in your muscles. Stretching might not be the best remedy for tight muscles and knots. Sometimes, it can make the problem worse. When my calves are stiff, I use a trigger ball to helping work out the tightness and massage the facial tissue. Here is the trigger ball that I use.
We all could use some more rest. When your body is sleeping and resting, your body is repairing and rebuilding your muscles. Lack of rest not only interrupts your current day’s workout it starts building up causing greater harm. An injury could occur if your muscles don’t have enough time to rebuild and you keep stacking on more miles.
Related: What Is A Recovery Run?
Rest and cross-training are probably two of the most important strategies to stick to help prevent injury. We’re runners. When we run, we use our specific leg muscles to achieve this. By strengthening muscles that aren’t directly related to your leg muscles, you can help prevent injuries. There are many forms of cross-training such as swimming, walking, cycling, weight lifting, kettlebell workouts, and many others.
At least once per week, you need to perform some type of strength training such as lifting weights, band resistance, or bodyweight exercises. Strengthening your leg muscles and core will go a long way in preventing long-term sustained injuries.
Do you need a strength training regime for runners? Check out this detailed post about essential strength training for runners.
Personal bests are goals and achievements that every runner should set out to achieve. When you are trying to attain a particular goal, you are stretching yourself out of your comfort zone both mentally and physically. The mental side of running isn’t going to damage you physically. However, it’s the mental push that strains and pushes the physical body to achieve a goal. Pushing yourself is the only way that you’re going to lose weight, run faster, or run a longer distance. The best way to safely push yourself is by following a training plan.
Follow Your Training Plan
Training plans are great ways to increase endurance, speed, distance, etc. There are days when you feel like training is brutal, and you want to throw in the towel. There are also days that you feel like you can run forever. The days you feel like Superman are the days you want to push yourself and possibly run farther than your training plan allows. Overtraining is a perfect scenario of when an injury could start, especially if you’re consistently pushing past your total mileage or running on days when you should be resting. If you give yourself a little wiggle room, it can help prevent this from happening (for more info on wiggle room read this: 3 Things Your Training Schedule Doesn’t Show You)
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