I belong to several on-line running communities, and one thing that comes up in our chats quite often is what can we do towards preventing running injuries. I think all runners have encountered an injury (or two)…..I know that I’ve definitely had my share:
- stress fractures (yes plural – I’ve broken BOTH legs from running)
- IT band friction syndrome
- patella femoral pain syndrome
- achilles tendonitis
- pes anserine bursitis
- jumper’s knee
- and most recently plantar fasciitis.
Oh how I hate getting injured, don’t you?
Being injured is so hard to handle – I get angry with the world when I WANT to run but CAN’T. The thing with injuries is that each and every one makes us smarter – they teach us things about our bodies, and if we’re paying attention to our bodies, most of our injuries won’t be repeated.
Because most of my injuries could have been prevented, I thought I’d share with you 5 of my personal tips for running injury free:
- Get fitted for shoes that match your running gait.
Go to a store that specializes in running and that has knowledgeable staff. The most expensive running shoes are not necessarily the best running shoes for YOU. As well, the shoes that your running partner wears and runs injury-free in may not be the best for you either. Go to a store that will let you try the shoes out for a little spin up and down the sidewalk outside in front of the store. I’d mention store names, but I’m Canadian and have no idea what stores do that in the US. Here in Canada Running Room is a good resource (and I believe there are now a few Running Room locations in the US). Would anyone care to share some store names in the comments of places that allow you to run outside in the shoes?
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- Follow a training plan that builds your distance slowly
Cut back every 3-4 weeks to allow your body to recover. Most injuries are a result of too much too soon – either too much distance or too much speed too soon. When you run too far, or too fast your biomechanics change – this changes the angle of your foot strike etc and transfers more shock through your body (ie: shin splints).
- Pay attention when you run to your gait.
If you’re starting to compensate, then cut your run short. Continuing to run with bad form because your training plan said to run 20 miles is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for injury.
- Pay attention to your own personal over-training signs.
Difficulty sleeping, restlessness, illness, fatigue – those are all signs of over-training. If you experience any of those things, perhaps a rest day or an easier day is what your body needs.
- Don’t run through pain. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t right.
I hope you all can learn from my mistakes – here’s to running injury-free!
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What have you learned from your injuries? What training tips can you share to keep me from injuring myself (yet again)?
(PS – I told my hubby I wrote a post about preventing injuries and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him laugh so hard – he said to tell you all that he’s never met anyone who tries harder to hurt themselves than me).