Running is one of the best ways to exercise, but it’s also known to wear and tear on the body – facing an injury without the right care can hinder your performance indefinitely. To help out intrepid runners, we’ve prepared a list of tips to help you and show how to avoid running injuries.
While running, you can go farther, faster. When you go as far as you do, whether it be three miles, six miles, 12 miles or 26.2 miles, as fast as you do, it takes a toll on your body. This, however, isn’t an excuse to go sedentary.
Here are the best ways to treat running injuries.
Get The Right Pair of Shoes
The most important element of staying healthy when you’re running consistently is making sure you have a pair of shoes that contours to the shape of your foot and the way that you run. If you’re running any sort of distance, it’s essential that you get shoes designed for running – running in any pair of sneakers can land you in shin splints or cause knee issues. Luckily, it is not hard to get yourself well-equipped. Just go to any proper running store and see if they can help you out. Most will be able to take a look at your feet and your stride and make a recommendation based on that, and you can figure out for yourself whether you have wide or narrow feet and high or flat arches. Also, if you can, rotate out a couple pairs of shoes – they’ll last longer and you’ll have better support for more time.
Stretch After Your Run
The last thing anyone wants to do after a run is sit down for five minutes and stretch, but if you want to keep on being able to run, you should take that time. Post-run stretches greatly reduce the chance of injury. All it takes is a few exercises to relax your muscles and ease tension, muscle soreness and chance of injury. That five minutes will even help you recover quicker. The key to stretching is to make sure you do so slowly and steadily. Lengthening the muscle without bouncing or putting additional pressure on it, however, is counterproductive. Thirty seconds per stretch should be plenty.
After deciding on a race, training begins. You’ll develop a workout plan with manageable runs and quick recovery, and you’ll be tempted to keep pushing. Resist the urges. There’s a reason why training schedules are set up the way they are, and that’s because if you ramp up your mileage or pace too quickly, there’s a good chance it’ll lead to an injury. Fortunately, there’s a very easy way to know how quickly is too quickly, and that’s the 10-percent rule. You should never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent from one week to the next. If you run 20 miles one week, bump up to 30 overnight.
It’s no shocker that you need to hydrate when you’re running, but it is a little bit more nuanced than people think. The general idea is that if you drink water, you’re hydrated. The real key to hydration, however, is to make sure you’re drinking well before the time to run arrives, not just right when you’re about to take off. In fact, you really shouldn’t drink much within an hour of heading out, although you can have a bit right before you start. It’s important, interestingly enough, not to over hydrate, which can be tempting if you’re running a really long race like a marathon. Drink when your thirsty – don’t force it down.
This handy acronym is the best way to treat almost every running injury. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. If you do end up with some sore joints or muscles, the best way to take care of it is a combination of these four techniques. It’s a simple trick for staying able-bodied, but it actually works. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the trail, signing up for your next marathon and completing your morning runs again.
Photo Credit: Phil and Pam Grad well / Flickr.com