1. Warm Up and Cool Down
- Before and after exercise. This should involve 10 or so minutes of exercises using the same muscles as those you plan to use during your workout.
- Lack of stretching or incorrect stretching can lead to running injuries, stretching forms an important part of any running programme and should become habitual as part of your cool down activities.
- Running creates strain and stress on certain muscles and after you stop running those muscles begin to tighten. The best way to avoid tightness/stiffness & eventual soreness in those muscles is to stretch after running.
2. Use the 10% rule
- Build your training load slowly over, the 10% rule is a good guide, increase your weekly kilometres by 10% per week.
- This includes increasing the length of your long runs by 10% per week. For example if your longest run has been 10km don’t jump straight to 15km for your long run, try 11km, then 12km then 13km etc.
3. Be Consistent
- A common error is missing training sessions and adding extra kilometers into subsequent workouts in order to “catch up.”
- Resuming your training programme after missing several workouts increases your risk of developing a running injury.
4. Easy Workouts
- It is important you don’t repeat two hard workouts back to back, hard workouts such as long runs, hill repeats, racing and speed work will stress your body.
- Taking a one day break (rest day, cross training, non weight bearing exercise) between hard workouts allows your body to recover and limits your risk of suffering a running injury.
5. Choose Running Surfaces Carefully
- Running on softer surfaces (grass, packed dirt, athletics track) in training will minimise your injury risk, it is important that you run on asphalt occasionally as this is the surface most races are run on.
- Some running tracks/trails will have a camber to assist run off, this slant can cause one foot to pronate (roll inward) and the other to supinate (roll outward) this can increase risk of suffering foot injury. Flatter surfaces are preferable for injury prevention.
6. Appropriate Footwear and Usage
- Running in tennis shoes, excessively worn shoes, or the wrong shoe type (motion control, stability, neutral) will increase the likelihood of developing foot injuries. Like tyres, shoes will wear out at a certain mileage replacing them regularly (approximately every 750-1000km).
- Excessively worn shoes are a quick way to a foot injury the shoe breaks down and will throw off your running stride.
7. Listen to Your Body
- Paying attention to warning signs from your body, if you think you might be injured immediately begin preventative measure to limit damage to a minimum and promote recovery.
- Depending on the injury the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method aids recovery, and in some cases taking a day or two off running to allow the injury to heal.
- Anti-inflammatory medication may be beneficial for certain injuries but should be discussed with your sports Physiotherapist before being taken.
- If you don’t listen to your body secondary injuries can occur by running through the pain and favouring the injured side and changing your natural running style.
8. Cross Training
- Cross training is a great way to avoid running injuries, it develops parts of your body that running neglects and will increase aerobic capacity. It is a good way to recover between hard running sessions as can be less stressful on muscles and joints.
- Using recovery techniques such as cold water therapy or gentle walking can all aid the recovery process.
Happy running folks!