Running is a favorite among many athletes since it requires almost no equipment. However, it’s very common for runners to experience an injury if they are not taking the necessary steps to prevent one. If you have had an injury in the past, you are at an increased risk for another injury.
Your body is unique and what works for others may not work for you. An increase in miles means an increased risk of injury. Before you put your shoes on and head out the front door, take a moment to be aware of the best ways to prevent running injuries.
Listen to your body.
Your body is constantly speaking to you, so listen up during and after a run. Take note of any sore spots, tight muscles, or tender areas. Never dismiss any pain signals your body is giving you. Never force yourself to push through the pain.
Icing any sore muscles or joints can reduce inflammation and is a smart habit for injury prevention. Consider reducing your miles if you are experiencing any pain or excessive soreness after a run.
Stretch before you run.
It can be easy to start off your run with minimal stretching or warm up. It’s important to loosen up joints and warm up muscles before you start your run. Skipping or rushing through your stretching time is a good way to get injured. Gentle yoga is a smart way to prepare your body for running and gain additional flexibility. Consider getting a regular massage to keep muscles from cramping.
Find the right shoe for your foot.
Your shoes can make a huge difference in how your feet feel during and after a run. Toenail pain or discoloration can be a sign you need a different type of shoe for your foot.
With minimalist footwear trending, it may not be the right choice for you. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found an increase in foot injuries when running with minimalist footwear. Take your time to try on shoes and consider having your foot fitted for proper support.
Run consistently either daily or weekly.
It’s important to increase your running times gradually as your body adjusts, especially if you have to take a break from running. Take time to ease back into your regular miles. Setting goals allows you to increase your training time slowly and prevent injuries. To avoid running injuries, never try to make big jumps in your running miles all at once. Even long-distance runners need to increase their miles slowly.
Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled runner, always take time to listen to your body and make any necessary adjustments to your stretching, shoes or training schedule. With a few injury prevention steps, you will be a happy and healthy runner.