Newbie Alert: How to Avoid The Injury Bug

June 13, 2016 Posted By: Bob "Wish" Wischnia

By: The Mizuno Shoe Guy

 

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the running life. They just are. Either because of training errors, poor biomechanics, improper shoe selection or numerous other variables, nearly every runner gets injured at one time or another.

 

New runners are especially susceptible to the common running injuries that plague us because of their lack of experience. Making matters worse, new runners have a tendency to run too fast, too soon and all too often are sidelined with an injury that could have easily been avoided.

 

It’s been said time and time again, but we runners are the fittest group of injured athletes in the world. But most running injuries are minor, easily treatable and you are usually back on the road within a matter of days.

 

Fortunately, most of these common running injuries that plague runners can be skirted by using some common sense and listening to the body’s warning signs and backing off.

 

Here are 12 ways you can reduce the chances of getting injured this summer:

 

  • Walk in, walk out. Start every run with a few minutes of walking. And finish that way too. This will allow your muscles to warm up before the run and cool down following it. When you start the actual running, start slowly and gradually ease your way into the run. Hold yourself back for the first 5-10 minutes and eventually you will find your natural pace.

 

  • Progress slowly. When you feel it’s time to boost your training, only add small amounts of mileage, speed training or hills. Don’t add more than five miles a week or five minutes of speed work or more than an extra one or two sets of hills at a time. Allow your body the time it needs to gradually adapt to the added load and stress.

 

  • Run your pace. If you’re a newbie, don’t jump into a workout with more experienced, better conditioned runners. Chances are they’ll run too fast and you’ll struggle to keep up. Instead, run with other new runners who will go at a similar pace and distance which you can easily cover.

 

  • Don’t try to make up missed workouts. If you should happen to miss a scheduled key workout (such as a long run), it’s not that big a deal. Let it go and don’t try to make it up the next day. If you do try to squeeze a key workout in that you’ve missed, it will mess up your entire schedule and force you to run hard too many days in a row. Missing one workout—even an important one—isn’t going to hurt you in the long run.

 

  • Go soft once or twice a week. If almost all of your running is on roads, seek out a trail or grass surface (such as a park) for at least a couple of easy runs every week. Doing so, will give your legs (and head) a needed break.

 

  • When in doubt, sit out. When a minor muscle strain or soreness crops up, just pass on the scheduled workout. Instead, go for a walk or do some form of cross-training. Better to rest a tender area now, rather than push it and pay the consequences later.

 

  • R&R all year. Take at least one rest day per week, but also plan for one easy week of light running per month and one easy month per year. Ease off on the throttle and give your body a chance to bounce back. With marathon season over, summer is the perfect time of year for plenty of casual, easy running.

 

  • Strength train. Supplement your running with light weight training one or two times a week. Emphasize hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps and calf muscle work. By strengthening these key running muscle groups, you can reduce your injury risk. Use light weights with 10-20 reps for each exercise.

 

  • Stretch after running.  Don’t bother stretching cold muscles before you run; it doesn’t help. Instead, stretch within 10 minutes after each and every run. If you don’t know how to stretch properly, learn. Or take a yoga class designed specifically for runners.

 

  • Ice, ice, ice. Whenever any muscle or tendon is tender to the touch after running, ice massage it. Cool the inflamed muscle by applying ice, frozen peas or a commercial ice pack. Never heat an injured or sore muscle after running.

 

  • Monitor shoe wear. Obviously, you should wear a high quality pair of running shoes—hopefully, Mizunos– suited for you whenever you run and not just any old sneaker. (If you don’t know of the right shoe for you, go to a specialty running store and get properly fitted.) Assuming you have a good pair of shoes, it’s also important to monitor the amount of wear you have on your shoes. Even the best running shoes will wear out eventually and lose the ability to cushion and protect your feet. How do you know? If an easy run results in abnormal soreness and/or the shoe’s cushioning feels exceptionally firm, is a good time to check your shoes for wear. A good pair of shoes will last anywhere from 350 to 500 miles. It’s better to change to a new pair of shoes too early, rather than too late.

 

  • Never run through pain. Never. Whoever said no pain, no gain is undoubtedly chronically injured. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Pain should be respected. If there is pain, stop running. Always err on the side of caution.

 

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