How to Avoid Running Injuries
Before Your Run
- Buy properly fitted running shoes: Before you even lace up, make sure your shoes fit correctly. Find out what your arch type is and look for a shoe that will best support your foot.
- Warm up: Completing a full warm-up is especially important on cold days and before speed workouts. A warm-up should always include movement to get your heart-rate up and dynamic stretching.
- Stretch dynamically: Dynamic stretching, or stretching while in motion, is an important part of every warm-up. Lunges, high knees and walking quad stretches are all examples of dynamic stretches.
During Your Run
- Dress for the weather: Before heading out for your run, make sure you are wearing the appropriate apparel. You are most prone to running injuries on cold days, so be sure to protect your muscles with running tights, a long-sleeve shirt and a running jacket.
- Dress for the terrain: If you're taking your run off-road, consider investing in a pair of trail running shoes. Trail running shoes provide better traction than road running shoes and include technologies that protect your feet from rocky, uneven surfaces.
- Don't ignore pain: Don't run through pain. Something that seems small enough to push through can turn into a bigger injury if left unattended. It's better to take a few days off for a small injury than to take weeks or months off for something more serious.
After Your Run
- Cool Down: Cooling down with a light jog or a brisk walk will help your muscles recover. This is especially important after completing a speed workout, a challenging run or a race.
- Self-massage: Massaging muscles is an important part of workout recovery. Self-message can be performed using foam rollers, massage balls and other tools designed for this purpose. Learn how to use a foam roller for muscle recovery.
- Stretch: Stretching after a run is another step in the process of cooling down muscles, which is key to preventing injuries. This is the time to do more familiar static stretches, or stretches that can be performed while seated or with relatively little movement.
- Ice: Icing sore muscles is the final step in workout recovery and is an important part of keeping yourself injury-free. Secure ice packs or bags filled with ice to sore muscles using an athletic wrap. For an easy way to ice sore shins, fill small paper cups with water and freeze. Simply peel the paper down to the ice and rub the ice directly on your shin.
Taking the time to give your muscles the TLC they deserve is a simple way to avoid running injuries. With these tips, you'll be one step closer to having a successful and healthy running season!