The weather is warming up and running season is in full swing! Whether you're in training for a 5K, a marathon or are trying running for the first time, UCO Practice Educator David Such shares some tips to help prevent common running injuries.
Tip 1: Plan your training safely
Running injuries often occur from doing too much too soon. Plan your training so that you can gradually increase your mileage without putting too much stress on your body. If you are new to running or inexperienced, apps such as Couch to 5k are great at helping you to gradually increase your distance and run times.
Tip 2: Don't attempt too much at once
Don't push your body too hard by changing too many variables at once. For example, if you are looking at improving your 5km or 10km time, you might want to focus on improving the intensity of your workouts, while keeping the frequency of your runs the same. Alternating your training sessions is also important to avoid over-fatiguing particular muscles, plus it keeps your training interesting.
Tip 3: It's not all about running
Remember to incorporate resistance/strength training to strengthen and condition your tendons, ligaments and joints. You don't need a gym membership - resistance exercises such as squats and lunges can be done anywhere and will help reduce the chance of overuse injuries. Runners World has an easy to follow strength and conditioning workout for new runners to get you started.
Tip 4: Prevention is better than cure
If you keep mobile in between workouts, do some stretching, don't skip your warm ups, and keep a good balance - then you're far less likely to get injured.
Tip 5: Take time to rest
Rest is just as important as any of the above advice. Getting adequate sleep, downtime from work, and managing your stress levels will also help to reduce your risk of injury.
Tip 6: Don't ignore warning signs
When you have a training plan and a goal in mind it can be tempting to push on through niggles and injuries or to rush back into training too quickly. Taking time to rest and heal will help to prevent more serious injuries and longer recovery times. A musculoskeletal specialist such as on osteopath or a physiotherapist can help develop a treatment and exercise plan to help you exercise safely and to get you back on your feet.
Tip 7: Be consistent with rehabilitation
If the worst happens and you end up with a running injury, the key to rehabilitation, just like weight loss goals and lifestyle changes, is consistency!
When things do go wrong and your body is injured, consistency in your rehabilitation exercises, stretching and core work is very important. If you don't take steps to try and avoid a similar injury happening in the future, it may be more likely to reoccur.