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Great Ways to Prevent Running Injuries

Great Ways to Prevent Running Injuries

The possibility of injury is something all runners need to be aware of, no matter how much – or how little! – time we’ve been running for. In my book, prevention is always better than cure, and to that end I’ve put together a list of my favourite tips on keeping injury at bay.

1) Invest in good shoes

The first step in the fight against injury is making sure you wear a decent pair of shoes while you run. This doesn’t mean picking up the most expensive trainers in the shop; rather, it’s about understanding how you run and the level of support you need.

Of course, it’s not really possible to watch yourself run and, if you could, you might not understand what you’re seeing. So, the simplest thing to do is to get yourself to a decent sports shop and have your gait analysed (good stores, like Lilywhites in London, will offer this for free). It’s not a big deal – it just involves you running for less than a minute on a treadmill.

Then, staff will be able to tell you what kind of shoe you need to achieve the right level of support. They’ll also help you choose a pair, re-testing your gait with each; you don’t have to do this if you don’t fancy it – but I think it’s worth it.

2) Warm up!

The next step in injury prevention is remembering to warm up for a few minutes before you run – especially if you’ve been sat at a desk all day. I have to admit, I’m pretty bad at this, but it really can help avoid strains when you start running.

If you’re like me and are a little impatient (and perhaps lazy!), spend the first few minutes of your run jogging lightly. This can act as a warm up as long as you keep your speed well below what it usually is.

3) Be injury-aware while running

Listening to your body is one of the best ways to avoid injury. Most of us will experience the odd ache or twinge while running – it comes with the territory – but persistent sharp pains (ones that last over ten minutes/throughout your run and continue afterwards) are probably the sign of an oncoming or existing issue.

The temptation here is to adopt the attitude that, since you can technically still run, it’s not a problem, but that’s a sure-fire way to turn a minor ache into a full-blown injury. Instead, ice the affected area once you get home, and scale down your mileage/intensity until it improves.

4) Stretch and stretch some more!

New runners often think they should stretch before they run, but don’t think about doing so afterwards. In fact, it’s more important to stretch as soon as you finish; this is essential in boosting muscle recovery and avoiding injury. Fail to stretch adequately and you’re far more likely to experience soreness, while your muscles will be more limited in their mobility. Over time, this can even lead to muscle shortening – so, stretching is a big deal!

Stretch all the major lower-body muscle groups, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. On occasions when you’re short of time, make sure you at least stretch your hip flexors, as doing so will help the rest of the muscles in your legs relax.

5) Consider recovery nutrition

There are certain things you can eat and drink after a run that will go some way to boosting your recovery and, consequently, help prevent future injury. Personally, I like drinking chocolate milk when I get home, and not just because I’m a chocoholic! It actually has the right balance of proteins and carbs for recovery – but you should also eat a balanced meal soon after finishing, too.

Another option to consider is investing in a home oxygen canister. By inhaling oxygen-enriched air, your muscles are likely to recover faster – and this could also boost performance over time.

About Sheila Thomas

Hi, My name is Sheila and I am the Living Smart Girl. My goal is to bring everyone the latest and greatest tips and advice on fitness, healthy choices, recipes, shopping, beauty, home and garden, family and parenting, daily deals, travel, and so much more. I love fitness, but life is more than just exercise and when you visit Living Smart Girl you can connect the dots and live a well rounded life ~ the Living Smart way :)

I love working online and spend most of my day blogging, and researching new topics and tips to bring my readers.

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Sheila Thomas

Comments

  1. I’m not a runner, but these are great tips for staying safe while doing it! I’ll pass it on to my little brother, he’s a runner.

  2. kathleen Kennedy-Leon says:

    you are so right about Stretch and Stretch again–when I was in Yankees camp–they took that very very seriously and no injuries thank goodness!

  3. Shoes really can make such a big difference. Now that I have good ones, I’ll never go back to buying something just because it’s cheap.

  4. Warming up and stretching afterwards always help!

  5. Michelle Cantu says:

    totally agree with stretching. I used to go to the gym and just hop on a treadmill thinking the walking and transition to jog, then a run would make it okay. I blew my knee and suffered a terrible pinched nerve in my lower back. The first thing my dr said was do you stretch.

    Love the tips

  6. Good shoes are SO important. When I was running I left my good runners at work one day and went out for a run in my sneakers – big mistake I was sore for a week!

    • I so believe in good shoes all the time, not only for running. I have bad feet, and suffer a lot due to the shoe choices I made when I was younger. So, spending the money on good shoes pays off.

  7. Great tips! Running is my sport of choice! It is a great stress reliever! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  8. Ok – this is the 4th post I’ve read today on running … I think I need to take a hint (-:
    Thank you for the great tips as I get myself prepped to start running again.

  9. This article was AWESOME! I always harp about stretching and noone listens to me. I’ll just make them all read this blog!

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