It’s getting to that time of year where many people are putting on their running shoes and getting out and about around the streets, parks and trials either to get fitter, maybe for an event that you have entered or maybe just to improve your overall fitness. Whatever the reason you have taken up running you want to be able to enjoy it and be able to run injury free.
Many of you run or do sport for enjoyment. It makes you feel good, it makes you happy, it relieves stress and fills you with energy, but if you were to get an injury and you can’t do the sport that you love, it’s like pure hell! This is one of the reasons I got into the fitness industry, I wanted to help people to feel better, feel fitter, feel stronger and keep them doing what they love to do. With that being said I’m going to share with you some top tips that will help you improve your running and reduce your risk of injury. These tips can be applied to most sports.
Build a strong foundation –
So many people take up a sport to get better at it – right? Why do you run? You enjoy it, you feel good doing it and to get better at it you need to run. – This is absolutely correct. However, this is also one of the excuses runners give for doing NO strength training what so ever. I get it, you love the outdoors and you love the fresh air so why would you want to be inside using static resistance machines!
Here’s the thing, running is great, but it causes muscle imbalances, like with many sports. For example, if you have a weak right hip, your right knee may come under extra strain, and over time if you do not work one strengthening this hip you may get injured. In any sport your body works as a unit “our kinetic chain”, so it is important to strengthen the whole body. Let’s look at running in motion – We use our feet, lower and upper legs, hips and glutes, lower back, and other core muscles, arms and shoulders, one weak link will affect the whole chain. Maintain good strength from top to bottom to become a stronger, injury free runner.
2. Stretch, Stretch and Stretch! –
Pre and post run stretching is very important to helping prevent injury. Dynamic stretching and foam roller exercises should done before you run. Exercises such as squats, lunges, butt kicks, and side shuffles are a great dynamic warm up, and rollering your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves will help lengthen and warm the muscles properly. Post run static stretching should involve quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip flexors. If you have been sitting at a desk all day or driving for hours, it is important to loosen up these muscles properly before running.
3. Track your running shoe mileage –
This is vitally important for runners. Worn out running shoes can often contribute to pain in the ankles, knees and hips, causing shin splints, IT band issues, or Piriformis and glute problems. Running shoes have a shelf life, a good rule of thumb is to purchase a new pair of shoes every 300-500 miles. This will vary dependent of gait and where you are running.
4. Have your gait analysed –
Making sure you have the right pair of shoes is important for your body. Many running stores, running coaches and sports therapists will be able to assess and analyse your gait. They will analyse how you land, whether your foot rolls inwards or outwards, and this will help determine if your need a neutral, stability or motion control shoe.
5. Don’t do too much too soon –
Yes, I know you are eager, but this is the number one cause of injury! Not having a proper plan and going out and doing to many miles to quickly is only going to lead to injury. Your body needs time to adapt to increased miles or speed. Your muscles and tendons need time to recover, rushing this process you will break down rather than build up. Use the 10 % rule, and do not increase you distance by any more than 10% per week. So, if you are running 10k this week, then 11k will be next week, 12k the week after….
6. Take notes of your runs and training –
I do this with my training – A detailed log can keep you motivated and also injury free. Take time after your runs to note down
*How you felt before, during and after the run
*Where you ran
*What you’ve done that day
*What other exercise you’ve done
*Time of day
All of these can affect your run, mentally and physically, so it’s a good what to track progress and if you are getting niggles eliminate what is causing them.
7. Get better sleep -
Pretty much every study I read shows the importance of sleep, for health, weight loss, well-being, focus, memory, mood, blood pressure and to stay injury free. A solid 7-8 hours per night will ensure all systems are ready to, help with your fitness and put you in a great mood.
Use these tips to decrease your risk of injury and enjoy your running or other sports training. For more information to incorporate a strength and resistance program into your fitness schedule, please feel free to contact us for more information and to book in for your FREE consultation -firstname.lastname@example.org.