While running remains one of the most popular competitive and leisure sports today, it also comes with its fair share of risks. Runners that fail to plan ahead could be looking at injuries that not only keep them off the track or road, but could also result in missed days of work or permanent damage to the body. Here are four easy steps that can be incorporated into one’s training to prevent injuries.
1. Double Your Warm-Up
While not every single runner is going to literally need to double their warm-up, many will find that some of the most common injuries are preventable with proper planning. For the non-competitive runner, a ten minute warm-up and then dynamic stretching should be adequate for a leisurely run. These times often double or triple for those that are preparing for a rigorous workout or have been plagued with previous injuries.
2. Create a Staggered Training Schedule
Studies carried out by the National Institute of Health show that 56 to 75 percent of all running injuries come down to overuse and improper training. Many runners will create a workout schedule with nothing more than increasing mileage as time progresses. Instead, all training schedules should include a series of easier and harder training weeks with at least one day a week of complete rest and two or more days a week of cross-training with weights or other forms of cardio.
3. Never Ignore Upper Body Pain
While a leg or foot injury will immediately put a runner out of commission, many will continue their training even with back, neck, shoulder, and arm pain. For running enthusiasts, this type of pain is often an indicator that a serious medical condition is taking place and it should never be ignored. Chiropractic and other musculoskeletal specialists can help prevent injuries or reduce the damage to one’s body with headaches, chronic back pain, a tingling feeling, muscle spasms and chronic neck or back pain.
4. Perform a Gait Analysis
A gait analysis may seem a bit overboard for the average runner, but the proper footwear could be the determining factor between long-term injuries and a healthy running career. Those that have specialized in biomechanics such as pronation, the gait length and the heel strike can direct a runner towards the perfect pair of shoes, insoles, socks and other gear to prevent injuries from ever happening.
Running is a great way to stay in shape, but ignoring its impact on the body can be a grave error. Understanding one’s body and their limits can prevent serious and ongoing injuries from ever taking place.