5 Tips for Preventing Running Injuries

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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.

5 Tips for preventing running Injuries


 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:

  1. 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?
    [irp posts=”35142″ name=”I Ran Four Times a Week for Three Months… This is What Happened”]
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

[irp posts=”37418″ name=”Know Your Caffeine! 8 Facts About Caffeine You Probably Didn’t Know”]

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).

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  1. I am a total klutz! I have had plantar fasciitis and in January I somehow bruised the heck out of my foot. No idea how I did it, but it still hurts sometimes. There is nothing more annoying that wanting to exercise and not being able to!

  2. I’d like to hear more about these online running communities!

  3. Great tips – building slowly is a big one for me. Also, I think strengthening muscles in/around the feet/knees/hips before you begin official training or during initial training will pay off later. Waiting until something is already inflamed doesn’t help so much. (just learned this one from experience)

  4. Kellyology says:

    My favorite in my neck of the woods is Fleet Feet. They do an excellent job working with you, and if you find that you are having pain or problems with your shoes they’ll exchange them until you find what works for you.

    And as far as tips…running your race is the best tip I ever got. People seem to feel the need to keep up with their running buddies, and everyone’s body has different requirements when it comes to training. So…run your own race.

    Also…find a good massage therapist who can do a good deep tissue massage. Mine has helped me through many tough pains/injuries.

  5. Heather (Where's the Beach) says:

    Ugh, I feel like one big runner injury mess right about now. Piriformis syndrome plus plantar fasciitis (on different sides of course). It’s so frustrating. We recently got a book about runner’s injuries and prevention and the one thing that stood out was to recognize if the pain is unilateral. I never ever thought about that. I just thought oops left leg is hurting, oops right heel is on fire. But it never struck me that there was no even pain like you’d get from a weight workout – if that makes sense.