Injuries to muscles, joints and tendons are common among runners. These injuries result from a number of different problems – from incorrect running techniques to simply overdoing it. These 5 top tips could help prevent a running injury:
If your muscles aren’t warm when you start running, you could strain them. Always warm-up before you start running. Warm-ups can include:
– Stretching the different muscle groups to prepare them for a run.
– Walking progressing into a run.
– Low impact cardio exercises.
– A short weight work-out.
These warm-up exercises should be used whether you are running on a treadmill or hitting the road. Warm-ups are important for short distances as well as marathon training sessions.
2. Cool Down
In the same way it is important to prepare your muscles for a run, you need to let them cool down properly to prevent cramps and strains. Cooling down exercises include:
– Stretching slowly and gently.
– Slowing your run to a walk until your breathing regulates.
– Simply staying in motion until your body begins to cool.
Cooling down exercises should be performed for at least 3-5 minutes after a run, no matter how short or long the distance. Use a pulse monitor to determine how long it takes to return to your resting heart rate. Your cooling down exercises should be performed during this entire time.
3. Your Limits
Sports therapists confirm that the second most common cause of running injuries is that people simply push themselves too hard, too far, too fast. It is important to know your own limitations and increase your running speed and distance slowly over time, as your body strengthens and your endurance improves.
Unfortunately, the first sign that you have reached your own personal running limit may be an injury. To prevent this happening, you should always approach new distance or speed goals carefully.
On the other hand, running limits can often be psychological in nature. Your own fears, doubts and other emotions can prevent you from achieving your best, especially after an injury. It is important to overcome the psychological aspect in order to perform better.
4. Your Feet And Running Shoes
Don’t run with new shoes if you want to prevent sore feet, blisters and other issues. Walk in the shoes for a few days to break them in. Never run competitively in a new pair of trainers.
If you have any feet problems such as corns, plantars warts or a fungal infection, get these taken care of before running. Running with a foot health condition can exacerbate the problem or lead to complications such as infection.
If you have flat feet, high arches or other unusual foot characteristics, get professional advice about the best trainers to buy. You can use inserts to improve the fit of a shoe or have shoes professionally tailor made. This will cost you extra but will go a long way towards preventing injuries.
Ensuring that you have the right shoes can also prevent other impact injuries and an incorrect running technique causing further problems.
5. Support Accessories
If you have been injured before or if you have a medical condition that affects the muscles, tendons or joints, it may be beneficial to use certain support accessories. Knee and ankle braces or supports are most commonly used in running. These limit the impact on joints as well as stabilize motion to prevent injuries.
If you suffer from pain while running or after a run, it may be best to consult your doctor. A medical professional will be able to diagnose your condition as well as provide you with the best advice to prevent further injuries.