It happens without any warning and when we least expect it. Most runners develop a running injury at some point in their life. It's never easy to deal with one and it usually takes a lot of patience and some frustration to get back into the game. What most runners don't realise is that it doesn't take that much to stay injury-free. Below we have listed a couple of tips of what to do to avoid getting injured.
1) Progress steadily
No matter if you are just starting with running or you are a seasoned runner when getting ready for a race it is important to progress slowly. You might want to run more and increase your mileage to improve your running shape and that is okay, just make sure to do it slowly. It is recommended to increase your mileage by a maximum of 10% over the previous week otherwise you are at risk of developing over-training injuries.
2) Don't push your limits on each run
Runners who run daily cannot run fast every time they head out. It is important to alternate fast and intense running sessions with less intense recovery runs. Especially if you are running almost every day your body needs time to recover and so recovery runs should be part of your training plan each week.
3) Don't just run
All of us runners love running but our body is not made for running 365 days out of the year. It is great to incorporate other types of cardio workouts into your routine. Cycling is the favourite alternative of most professional runners but any other activity will do. Rope jumping, roller skating, dancing, swimming, kayaking, boxing, spinning or anything else that is fun for your and gets your heart rate up is a great alternative to running. Make sure to mix it up once in a while.
4) Strength training is important
The most important part of every runner's routine is strength training. Without strengthening your muscles you will most likely develop an injury with time. Spending hours running each week is a huge effort for our bodies and we need to strengthen our muscles and joints not only to prevent injuries but also to perform at our full potential. 20-30 minutes of strength training twice a week is the minimum each runner should do to stay fit and healthy.
5) Make sure to warm up and stretch
Runners often neglect warming up and stretching. It's crucial to warm up before and stretch after your run so you don't injure yourself. Warming up with dynamic stretches is a great way to loosen up your muscles before you head out. After your run it is important to stretch, especially those areas that feel tight. Forgetting to stretch after running can cause muscles to become tense and painful. It is also great to get a foam roller to additionally massage those tight areas.
6) Let your body rest
It is important to let your body rest. Most runners will have at least one day off per week when they don't run. It's great to give your body one full day of complete rest but if you want to move a little bit then yoga an easy swim or a walk is a good alternative. This will make you feel good but still give your body the rest it deserves.