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8 Ways to Prevent Running Injuries

Correct form can improve your speed and prevent running injuries. 

Running can be a great way to get outside, exercise on your own, meditate, get a full-body
workout, and build endurance. These benefits make it one of the most popular forms of exercise.
However, like many exercises, running can lead to injury if done incorrectly. Injuries like shin
splints and runner’s knee are caused by overworking your muscles they can plague a runner if
not treated. Luckily, we can help you avoid injury so you can enjoy your morning runs for many
years to come. Here are ten steps you can take to prevent running injuries:

 

1. Stretch before you run
Stretching can loosen the muscle groups that naturally tighten during the recovery cycle of
training. When you run or apply stress to your muscles, they engage in a stress-recovery cycle
that causes the muscles to tighten up and decrease mobility. If you continue to use them in this
state, they can pull on or tear ligaments and joints, resulting in knee pain, hip pain, or severe
injury. Luckily, you can loosen your muscles before you use them by performing specific
stretches and mobility training. Adding these exercises to your routine increases your mobility
and comfort when running.

 

2. Invest in the proper footwear
You wouldn’t go scuba diving without the right equipment, and you shouldn’t go running
without the right shoes either. Shoes that fit correctly can prevent imbalances in your stride that
stress your muscles. For example, if a shoe isn’t the right size, you can get a blister that causes
discomfort and changes your form.
Investing in the correct equipment can prevent injury. Shoes explicitly created for running can
have unique design features to increase support and improve performance. They can also lessen
the high impact stress from your foot repeatedly hitting the pavement.

 

3. Increase strength and endurance gradually
Overstraining your muscles in one workout is a quick way to cause an injury. To prevent undue
stress, keep in mind that fitness is a journey and you’re building skills and endurance every time
you go for a run. Plot out realistic goals over a period of time and hold yourself accountable to
consistently meet them. Using a workout plan that considers gradual improvement can help you
mark your success without overworking your body and pulling a muscle or worse.
You can also supplement your workouts with additional mobility and strength exercises to
increase your strength and endurance. Strength training can improve speed and endurance
without overworking specific muscle groups.

 

4. Practice your flexibility
To ensure that you are flexible enough to run safely, you can incorporate flexibility training into
your workouts. When running, you rotate your hip flexors to propel yourself forward. These
muscles move constantly and share the burden of the movement comfortably as long as they
have the full range of motion. Use specific exercises like lunges or dynamic stretching to
increase your flexibility, improve your range of motion and prevent injury. Many runners also
take up additional forms of exercise to target strength and flexibility, like yoga.

5. Choose your route carefully
Whether you are running outside or running on a treadmill, choosing the route is essential to
ensure that you prevent injury. Grass can hide small rocks or holes that cause you to twist an
ankle. Running on pavement can increase stress on your knee joints, causing knee pain after
running. It is safest to run on a level running track to prevent unexpected obstacles and decrease
stress on your knees. However, if you prefer to run around your neighborhood or through trails,
if you pay close attention to your route to ensure you don’t trip or overextend yourself, you can
enjoy a run without injury.

 

6. Monitor your body
Preventing injury can be as simple as addressing pain where it arises and adjusting your habits to
prevent pain in the future. Pain is a good indicator that there is something you need to address,
whether it’s adjusting your form or seeking treatment for an injury. If you are experiencing pain
or discomfort when you run, listen to the message your body is sending you and seek more
information. You can make an appointment at Living Well Balanced to answer any running or
injury-related questions.

 

7. Improve your running form – by working with a professional
You can get the full range of benefits of running when you have the correct running form. Your
running form refers to how you use your muscles while you run. Your form helps you increase
speed and avoid injury. A professional trainer or physical therapist at Living Well Balanced can
monitor your running and provide a detailed action plan to improve your form.
Making these adjustments to your form can help you avoid common injuries like runner’s knee,
an injury caused by an imbalance of stress on your hips while running. Your physical therapist
can help you find the cause of any pain you’re feeling and teach you about exercises to help fix
imbalances and improve your overall strength and endurance.

 

8. Consult our free Guide to Runner Injury Prevention
We’ve put together a free guide of exercises and stretches you can use to prevent injury as a
runner, like shin splints. You can sign up for our emails to get more helpful information about
how to prevent injury, treat injuries, and recover fully to ensure nothing keeps you from moving,
whether you’re running around the block or taking on a full marathon.

We want to ensure that clients who enjoy running can continue to do so for a long time. If you
want to speak with a physical therapist to review your form or ask questions about running injuries, you can always give us a call at 212-579-2858 or send an email at info@livingwb.com. Check out our blog for more information about avoiding injury or treating pain.

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