Running is an extremely beneficial form of exercise for both your mind and body. However, whether you are an amateur or experienced runner, there are numerous ways you can fall afoul of injury. Injury identification and prevention is a multifaceted task, you need to be aware of how your training program, lifestyle and running habits and form affect your body.
Luckily, there is a myriad of precautions you can take to ensure that you are well-prepared for the rigors of running. Muscular strains, ligament tears, blisters, cartilage degradation, and over-training can cripple your running journey. Keep reading to discover some of the simple measures you can implement in your routine to avoid these injuries.
Pick the right shoe
A huge percentage of running related injuries are a result of stresses placed upon your feet and lower leg caused by improperly fitted shoes. Your foot and Achilles’ tendons are particularly susceptible to this kind of injury. Badly fitted or poor quality running shoes give meager support on hard surfaces (such as pavement) and can promote unnatural stride mechanics. Minimizing shoe related injuries means having the right footwear to suit your biomechanics.
Specialized footwear stores or podiatric specialists have the experience and knowledge to measure your feet and fit you with a shoe that will be both comfortable and safe to wear. Moreover, it’s important to consider the kind of surfaces you will be running on and what your usual running routine consists of when choosing your running shoe. If you really feel unconfident picking the right running shoes, why not visit a physical therapist specializing in running to assuage your concerns and answer any questions.
Implement proper warm-up routines
Running is an intensive form of exercise and accordingly, your body requires a period of time to warm up, raise your heart rate and increase the temperature and blood flow to your muscle groups. Exercising without this crucial preparation time vastly magnifies your chances of injuring yourself. Try and spend about five minutes warming up your body before concentrating on stretching and some more specific running movements, such as very low-intensity jogging. Make sure you only stretch after you have sufficiently warmed up to avoid straining cool muscles.
If you find warm up routines tiresome and easy to skip, it might be time to implement a structured series of exercises into your pre-training routine. There are two different types of stretches which should form the backbone of this routine, static stretches allow muscles and tendons to lengthen while you maintain a stretch while dynamic stretching prepares your body for physical exertion by testing your range of motion and flexibility. Finally, it’s important to remember that the length of time you allocate to warming up should be in proportion to the intensity and distance of your run.
Training has limits
Overtraining is one of the most insidious causes for running related injuries. Common causes of overtraining are reduced periods of recovery and increased training intensity. Runners can be particularly susceptible to overtraining in the lead-up to big events or just devotion to the activity. Reduced concentration, drowsiness, and lethargy are typical signs that you are not giving your body enough time to recover. Over time, your endurance and strength are going to be affected by overtraining. This leads to a huge increase in your chances of injury during or after a run as your stabilization and alignment diminish alongside losses in strength.
Also, general mental tiredness means you are more likely to twist your ankle or over-extend your knee on rough surfaces, similarly, your body is simply not given enough time to properly repair and rejuvenate. To avoid overtraining, think about reducing your training time and take regular periods of rest (three rest days is optimum) during the week. If you are still feeling the need to keep training, try to implement some different forms of exercise into your routine, such as swimming or cycling, in order to reduce the impact on your lower body.
When you’re thinking about how to minimize your chances of injury, you probably aren’t paying sufficient attention to your lifestyle choices. The main lifestyle factors which influence your probability of injuring yourself revolve around nutrition, alcohol consumption, and sleeping habits. Effective dietary habits are an integral part of ensuring you have a comprehensive and holistic plan to reduce your risk of injury. Proper nutrition will ensure that your body has the nourishment to withstand the stresses of running and repair any minor muscular damage during your recovery time.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you are eating enough food and calories before and after running to keep your body and mind properly functioning. Without adequate food consumption, your body won’t be able to perform essential maintenance on your muscles and your chance of injury during a run will skyrocket. In more specific terms, it’s important to include good kinds of fats, complex carbohydrates and calcium in your diet to reduce the chance of inflammation, burnout, and fractures. The majority of muscular, joint and tissue damage is repaired in the two hours after you finish exercising, therefore, it is imperative that you have a quick protein heavy workout snack after you finish your run to give your body the best chance of avoiding injury.
Injury prevention is a comprehensive task for anyone who is regularly running, amateur and veteran runner alike. In terms of sports and exercise, running accounts for a high proportion of injuries, so it’s important to be aware of the common causes and types of injuries that can affect you. Suffering an injury can cause you great discomfort and derail your running progress for months, hampering your efforts for even longer. In order to prevent this from occurring, it’s important that you have supportive footwear, warm up and stretch properly before you run, read your body for signs of overtraining and maintain a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle.