SIMPLE TIPS TO PREVENT RUNNING INJURIES
Running gives you the freedom to take part anywhere, anytime, at your own pace. Neverthless injuries are bound to arise so it's vital to be aware, train proficiently and stay ahead.
We caught up with Andy Hobdell, one of the coaches from Swiss performance running brand On, who shared his tips to prevent even the simplest of running injuries.
Andy Hobdell, an ON Coach
“For me my daily run is like my reset button. I could wake up tired and cranky, however after my morning run I’m good to chase the day, or after a slog of a day at work I can head out for a run and return with the working day now a distant memory.”
It is on this note that I give you some simple to tips to hopefully help keep you injury free.
1. Wear the correct type of running shoes based on your foot type and running style
Not all running shoes are made alike. The type of shoe you need varies depending upon your Foot type and running style. A sports store that specializes in athletic footwear can help you figure out what style might be best for you.
Your foot type is based upon the structure of your foot and the degree of pronation. Pronation is the normal rolling of your foot in running as your foot strikes the ground and transitions into pushing off. Abnormal pronation can lead to injuries.
2. Talk with a running expert or coach to analyse your training program
Running is one of the easiest of sports to participate in. Trainers and comfy clothing on and you’re good to go. However, it’s not as easy as heading straight out for a ten-mile run or running head first into your local Parkrun.
On this basis it makes a lot of sense to do your background work and seek some advice before starting an online marathon programme or run your fastest 5km program from a running magazine etc.
In my experience it always makes sense to ease into things and not rush. None of the elite athletes you see on TV have become elites overnight. It has taken years of patience and gradual increase in their training programme. So why should you do any different.
3. Prepare to run
Trainers on, some work on the foam roller and some light stretching and you’re ready to head out the door. It’s not rocket science to work out that if you’ve had a day sat at your desk, or a day on your feet all day that you accumulate tightness in different areas. To take the time to ease the body out before you run makes a lot of sense as well as helping with focusing the mind on the run to come.
4. Ease into your run
The number of times I’ve had to say to people, “no rush!”. I can remember a very early experience when training in Portugal heading out on a morning run passing a group of Kenyans who were just about running faster than walking pace only to be passed by them 5 miles down the road clipping along at 5-minute-mile pace. The lesson has stayed with me ever since. Start slowly and as your body eases out/ warms up progress the pace to where you need to be.
5. Ease down / Warm down
The same can be said at the end of a run / training session. Take some time to run easy, cool down. The benefits are obvious to help flush out lactic acid build up in muscles and help prevent delayed muscle soreness.
6. Gradually increase your mileage
Good aerobic activity is the foundation of your running performance. The principle of progression, means gradually preparing the body to handle training stress. You slowly build up the amount of training you do along with slowly increasing the intensity. An easy basic rule is to aim for an increase in training volume of between 5-10% per week.
7. Include strength training
As well as adding variety to your training week, strength training improves a runner’s body strength and overall athleticism. This in turn reduces muscular fatigue that leads to poor performance and injuries.
Strength training should focus on all muscle groups. This can range from attending circuit training classes, pilates and other group sessions at your local gym through to hill training and more specific running drills.
8. Improve and maintain your flexibility
Daily stretching is essential to improve and maintain flexibility which in turn will help improve performance and prevent injuries. Stretching should be done after you have warm up your muscles.
An easy 5-10 mins should be a long enough warm up. Stretching should never be rushed and should work on including all joints and extremities.
9. Regular massage or physio
One of my biggest grudge bares is when people complain of a tightness or a niggle and then continue running and then the tightness or niggle then turns into an injury and running time lost.
Common sense tells you that if you are doing all this training or running that it would be sensible say once a month or every two weeks in intense marathon training to treat yourself to a massage or a visit to a physio before you get injured to ease out or reset any muscle tightness or joint issues.
10. Stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet
Again, common sense prevails, if you are doing all the above then it makes sense to eat the right foods and stay hydrated. There is nothing worse then someone who has not hydrated correctly throughout the day pulling up with cramp in a training run and an injury that could otherwise have been easily prevented results.
All of the above are just a few easy tips….there are many many more.
Enjoy your running
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