A review of studies suggests that in any given year 65 – 80 percent of runners are sidelined due to injury. Knowing how to train properly and safely is crucial to staying injury-free. Most experts agree that to lower injury risk, you need a strong body, good form, and the right shoe. Above all, listen to your body and take the proper amount of rest days. Know your training limits when increasing mileage and use strength training to build up your running muscles. We want you to cross the finish line injury free!
The 10 injury prevention commandments below will help you stay injury free:
- Rest and recover. Rest days and recovery weeks need to be built into your training plan.
- Use recovery techniques. Invest in a foam roller or massage stick to help your sore muscles recover faster. Find which technique works best for you.
- Sleep! Cardiovascular performance can be compromised up to 20% with sleep deprivation. Grab a nap if you can’t get in an average of 8 hours each night.
- Eat post-exercise. Fuel after exercise restores muscles and glycogen stores, while also repairing muscle tissue, so eat up!
- Warm-up and cool down. A proper warm-up will prepare your body for the demands of training. A good cool down is the first step in proper recovery after a run.
- Strength train. Adding strength training will help facilitate bone health to enhance injury resistance.
- Go shoe shipping. Get to your local running store and be fitted by an expert.
- Use the 10% rule. Increase weekly training hours, or volume, buy 10% or less.
- Speed it up. Interval training will improve your oxygen levels and increase your racing speed.
- More is better. More recovery will allow your body to adapt to a heavier training load. Rest up to build up your training volume (miles).
When you’ve got muscle aches or joint pains, there’s nothing better than RICE; rest, ice, compression, and elevation for immediate treatment. RICE helps to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and protect damaged tissues, all of which speed healing. RICE is most effective when done immediately following an injury. Apply ice—for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day and remember to take rest days after an injury!
If injury pain persists or gets worse, find and call a physical therapist or doctor that specializes in athlete injuries.
Runners Connect put together a list of the most common running injuries with tips on how to prevent and treat them.