So, you’ve hit the ground running in 2021 and are now looking to finish this year with a half marathon, or dare you even say it, a full one! You can the see medals hanging from your mantel piece in your mind’s eye, and you’ve already decided on the perfect celebratory meal to crown your momentous achievement. Life is good and you look forward to getting started. There’s just one thought lurking in the background, though… a thought you can’t shake, one that seems to replay over and over again no matter what: “what if I get injured and can’t do what I want to do?” Yes, there it is: the one fear that makes you feel almost as though it isn’t worth even trying. Running injuries can debilitate people for weeks, if not months, especially when the right treatment isn’t given. And so, worrying about what might happen seems to be a legitimate concern. However, it doesn’t have to be! Your training doesn’t need to suffer at the hands of anxiety and worry, and I’m here to tell you why. In this post, then, we look at tips for avoiding injury while running. We also dive into what you can do if you do get injured so as to have the least downtime possible. Are you ready? Are your laces tied? Let’s go.
Strength Training Works Wonders: Focus on the Glutes and Calves
Have you ever seen runners with legs that aren’t strong? The next time you see Hussein Bolt run, just take a look at his legs… they’re almost as toned as his chiseled cheek bones! And if the Olympic Gold Winner is anyone to learn from, leg strength is essential for a good run. Not only that, strong legs offer more support… the more of which you have, the less chance there is of injury. Strong glues and calves offer the proper support needed for good balance and muscle stress distribution. Focusing on strengthening and toning them is a great way to keep you up and running for longer.
Stretching for the Win!
I’m sure you know that stretching is important, but do you really know quite how important? If you don’t stretch, for example, your muscles actually become shorter and therefore weaker. And, of course, the bottom line is that weak muscles are vulnerable ones… if they aren’t supple and strong, how can they possibly stave off injury? Taking a tumble, rolling your ankle, or stepping incorrectly, could result in a much more dire result if your glutes and calves haven’t been stretched and warmed up well. So, the next time you head out on the road, use the first couple of minutes to get stretching!
Your Schedule Has to be Balanced
Even the greats take a rest every now and again. Burnout is a very real phenomenon, and if you have your eyes on running that marathon in the a few months, then you need to make very sure that you actually get there! Include rest days into your schedule so as to make sure your muscles and joints have a chance to recover from the training you’ve been doing. Recovery is almost as important as the actual training, because without it you lay bare your muscles, joints, and tissue to untold amounts of risk. A recovered muscle is a strong muscle, is a protective muscle. So, get your rest on!
Avoid Overtraining: Maintain a Gradual Increased Intensity
This links in nicely with my previous tip of not overdoing it. Training takes time, and building a resilient body and fitness level is sure to take weeks, if not months. Remember, if you put the work in over the long term, you’ll be able to reap permanent, fulfilling benefits. Don’t over-train – yes, challenge yourself, but don’t push yourself beyond what your body can handle. Running is an art – challenge yourself to go a little further and do a little more, but make sure that you listen to your body. If you do too much, too quickly, you may find yourself out of the running all together! So, plan ahead, take the time, and be sure to commit to a manageable, safe training schedule.
Make Sure you Have the Right Shoes… And that You Are Tying Them Correctly!
It’s all well and good to have the most expensive pair of Nike shoes, or the flashiest Adidas trainers, but how much does that really help you out on the road? For runners, the importance of proper footwear cannot be understated: from ankle support, through to pressure distribution and proper alignment, your shoes really, truly do matter. Make sure your shoes offer you the right support and enable you to align your posture correctly during the run. Ensure that they fit well and that they allow you room to move while still supporting your ankle and foot. And please, make sure you tie them correctly! Tight, but not too tight! A runner is nothing without a good pair of shoes, so if there’s one thing you really should invest in this year, it’s a good pair of running shoes.
Get some Physical Therapy
On the other hand, though, an even better investment may be a physical therapist! Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh? Physical therapy not only treats injuries related to running, but can also set you up for the best training of your life. With exercises tailored to you, your gait, and your personal goals, physical therapy can elevate your running game to a whole new level. To avoid running injuries, physical therapy helps you strengthen your muscles, improve your posture, and gives you the best tools and techniques for stretching and approaching your running and training schedule. Physical therapy really can help.
So, there you have it: top tips for avoiding injury as you aim towards your running goals. Don’t let the fear of getting hurt keep you back from achieving the things you want to achieve out on the road. If you’re unsure of how or where to start, though, why not give us a call? We’d be happy to help, give advice, or to simply chat to you about your options.