6 Steps to Prevent Injuries While Running
Whether running has become a new hobby or you’re a long-term devotee to the sport, injury prevention is important. Careful attention to how your body works and how far you’re pushing it at one time can make a world of difference to your training regimen. Here are 6 steps you can take to prevent running injuries, keeping you on the road:
Warm up and cool down
It’s important to gradually acclimate your body to your workout, and taking the extra time to warm up and cool down is essential. We recommend a 10-minute warm-up session to get your muscles working, and then stretch. Daily stretching helps improve and maintain your natural flexibility, which will result in a reduced chance of injuring yourself while also providing you with more physical awareness regarding your body’s limitations in range of motion. Taking the extra time to warm up and stretch will provide you with an easier and more effective workout. Cooling down does the same for your body, but in reverse. Giving your body some time to gradually reduce the stress being put on muscles and joints can help prevent soreness.
Get fitted for proper shoes
Like any sport, playing effectively requires the right equipment. In this case, your choice of running shoe can be a great asset, or an anchor. Visiting an athletic shoe store with an experienced and knowledgeable salesperson on hand will give you the opportunity to find the right style of shoe that works best for you. While shoes generally appear the same, there can be slight differences between pairs that make one good for one type of runner versus another pair for a different type of runner, and it’s useful to have someone assist you in finding which matches your stride. The way you run is determined in part by the shape of your foot, and the right shoes could help correct inconsistencies in your form.
Incrementally increase distance
One common mistake is when a runner becomes comfortable with a certain distance and then decides to push himself too far, too fast. If you’re looking to increase your distance, do it gradually over time rather than tacking on a large portion all at once. The general rule of thumb is an increase of 5-10% per week, with some days of the week coming in a little less than that. The idea is to create a slightly staggered goal throughout the week rather than an immediate, flat increase, giving your body time to acclimate to the new distance.
Include strength training
Running helps keep your body in top shape, but working strength training into your routine is important as well. Not only will strength training help you get stronger, it can also help your muscles work more efficiently, improving your running performance. Good methods for strength training include simple weight lifting and hill climbing sessions.
Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet
One of the most important tips we can give to avoid running injuries: stay hydrated. Hydration is a key component to avoiding heat exhaustion and dehydration, your two worst enemies as a runner. It’s suggested you hydrate using a cooled four- to eight-percent carbohydrate solution to help fuel your run, but plain water is just fine, too.
Cross-train and allow rest days
Changing your workout routine every once in awhile with other forms of exercise can help keep your running game going strong. Doing other aerobic workouts will help grow and maintain your cardiovascular health during winter months if you can’t make it out or to the track, and will lessen the overall impact your workouts have on your feet. And, if you’re feeling tired, it’s not just ok to give yourself a day off, it’s recommended. Pushing your body constantly will leave it susceptible to injuries if it never has any downtime. Give yourself a day off at some point throughout the week to recuperate and come back refreshed.
Keeping these 6 things in mind, along with routine chiropractic care, can help keep you at peak performance level all year long. At Lipinski Chiropractic, we want to help you be the best you can be. Let us help you get there!