Running has always been a popular activity for both people looking to get (or stay) fit, as well as amateur athletes supplementing other sports with running for cardio exercise. However, the amount of running-related injuries is often high, such as hamstring issues, shin splints and stress fractures.
This suggests that there is still a gap in basic knowledge related to running healthily and avoiding damage through dangerous running techniques and approaches. Below are some things you can do to run injury-free.
Assess Yourself Objectively
You may think you have a strong enough running foundation to head out for a 5K run after 3 months, but don’t take this for granted. The older we get, the more our bodies (joints, muscles, posture) change. Simply too much time in a desk chair can completely alter the way you run and your ability to handle longer distances.
If you’ve put on some weight or extra muscle in some areas of your body, this could also change how running impacts your body. Certain joints could become overloaded more than you’re used to, leading to various injuries and pains if you push it too hard too soon.
A good approach is to try and assess your running capabilities objectively. If you would advise someone else to be cautious after being out of action for several months, try to take your own advice and take things easy to start with.
Check for Injuries
Areas of the body that have been injured recently or a long time ago should be checked before engaging in any strenuous physical activity or exercise. Muscles around the joints can become more fibrous and tight, and when motion is not smooth, this can easily lead to running injuries.
Build Overall Fitness and Strength
Running isn’t just about the legs. It involves a lot of core strength and building this area of your fitness can help you run better and avoid injury. Long distances such as 5-10K will place greater demands on your body as a whole, so try to improve overall strength and endurance first before pushing yourself to go for long distances.
Incorporating complementary activities and exercises can really help. For instance, pilates or yoga can be used to achieve greater strength and flexibility in your legs and other areas – giving you a better foundation for running. If you have recently suffered an injury from running, or are getting back into running and are concerned an old injury might be an issue, we offer sports therapy in London for both amateurs and athletes.