When you are running for almost 26 years and have had only one injury you feel like you know the ways to prevent running injuries. Yep that is me I have been well trained and fortunate enough to avoid injuries that would keep me sidelined from running. I have a great trainer that is really on the ball - myself! Ha ha! As a runner at 33 years old I have a goal to run well and stay injury free. My main goal is that I can continue running as a lifelong sport. I have plenty of effective ways to prevent running injuries that I would love to share with you:
1. Begin Your Workout with a Dynamic Stretch
One of the most effective ways to prevent running injuries is to warm up your muscles, body temperature and gradually raise your heart rate with a dynamic stretch. Your dynamic stretch should be about 5 minutes in length and can consist of walking lunges, squats, or jumping jacks.
2. Listen to Your Body
A sign of a true athlete is both knowing and listening to your body. Be smart so you do not wind up sidelined with an injury and when in doubt take a day off. I have had issues with my knees and hamstring and it never turned into more than a minor issue because I allowed my body to rest. A few days later I am always rejuvenated a fresh ready to rock a great run!
3. Vary Your Runs
Do not run the same distance and speed every day. As a trainer to some hundreds of clients, I teach others to switch up their runs to vary the muscles you are isolating. If you work different muscles by doing hills, speed work, and recovery runs you will gain much more in the long run while helping yourself stay injury-free.
4. Integrate Strength Training and Core Training into Your Workout Plan
Make sure you do not just run and add strength training to your workout plan. This is a key in injury prevention and I highly recommend this. You can use the winter to lift heavier weights and the other seasons when you are running more often for light weight lifting. Also focus on core strengthening exercises such as the plank. These workouts will do much more than keep you slim and strong; this will help lower your risk of an injury.
5. Eat for Health
Everyone should eat healthy but runners in particular need more balanced nutrition. Make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables and fruits. If you are lacking your vitamins and nutrients this can cause an injury. A nutrient deficient person can see adverse health effects that can affect joints. So eat for health to support the healthy athlete that you are!
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
A lack of sleep can affect your breathing patterns while you are running and make you ill. Sleep is an essential part of any healthy workout program and can help lower your risk of an injury. Aim for 8 hours of sleep (I am lucky if I can get 6 with 3 kids but 8 hours is the ideal).
7. Love Your Running and De-stress While You Run
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in race competitions and weight loss goals that you forget why we even began running. Run for the love, fun, health and the athlete it has made you become.
Hope this article has helped you to take steps in the right direction to help you prevent an injury. In a dream world we would never have to worry about an injury and we could run forever. Help make the world perfect, or at least pretty darn close. Have you had a running injury (I hope you never have one again)?