Running, at its very essence, is a simple and pure sport. The open road, a wooded trail, fresh air and valuable time away from the modern world. It’s therapeutic, and a stress buster. You’ll even find that it can become addictive. The more you run, the healthier you feel. The mental and physical benefits are endless. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional runner, a marathon or sprint runner, achieving fitness and maintaining it is one thing, but avoiding running injuries is quite different. A good running technique is key.
According to a recent poll by Runners World, 50% of all runners obtain an injury, one way or another, be it mild or intense, per year. Remember that your body needs to adapt and this process takes time. The body is a fragile, multi-faceted system that needs to be taken care of.
I’ve put together five reasons you keep getting running injuries. Hopefully, this information will inspire you to take the correct precautionary measures and avoid them as best you can in the future.
- Pushing yourself too hard, too fast
This might sound like an obvious one, I know, but it’s one of the most common and easily disregarded. The majority of injuries happen when we increase the volume of training or the intensity of training, without correcting our running technique. Whether you’re training for a marathon or trying to get into shape, you need to build your body up slowly. Think long term. When you’re trying to add distance then you need to slow down your running speed. Be patient. And remember, you’re more likely to get a running injury when you’re tired so don’t push yourself too hard. This gives your body time to adapt.
- Not using the correct running technique
I believe that good form and proper running technique are key to reaching your goals and crossing the finish line strong and injury free. Try these tips:
- Your feet should land lightly underneath the body, not ahead of it.
- The most efficient way to run is to land on the balls of the feet, not the heel.
- Legs should move in a cycling motion with heels kicking up towards the backside.
- Arms should be used to get you moving forwards not upwards. Pump them and back and forth between the chin and hip, elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Fingers should be closed by relaxed.
A proper running technique gets your body moving in the most efficient motion possible, increasing speed and endurance and helping you remain free of running injuries by reducing the impact on your ankles, knees, hips and spine. Get in touch if you’re considering taking your running to the next level.
- Not doing strength exercises can result in severe running injuries
Runners hate going into gyms. Why are strength exercises so important?
If you increase strength then you’ll increase joint stability and ultimately reduce the injuries caused by the repetitive stress of running. Integrate exercises such as squats and ab work into your daily workout to help prevent lower-body injuries and improve overall performance.
And the good news? You don’t even need to join a gym to do strength exercises. Rather try box step-ups with a weight in each hand. This strengthens the whole lower body – quads, glutes and hamstrings.
- No variation in your training
It’s important to vary your training sessions:
Include an interval session or a speed session, fartlek or tempo session. Run across a variety of terrains and in different shoes. Tackle some hills. Not only does this keep your training more interesting, but it diversifies the types of stresses that your body endures.
The more you mix things up, the more versatile your body and muscles become. The more variation the better.
- Not allowing adequate recovery time
One of the biggest mistakes runners make after a long-distance run, whether it’s post-race or after an intensive week of training, is not taking enough recovery time. Recovery is a crucial and an often neglected part of training, and imperative to preventing running injuries. According to Runners World, a day off every 7 to 14 days, restocks glycogen stores, builds strength, and reduces fatigue. If you are experiencing sudden weight loss, lack of sleep or dehydration it’s probably due to a lack of rest and maybe over-training. The body needs time to restore itself.
Although running may seem like a straightforward sport, and it really can be, professional assistance can go a long way in ensuring you approach it in the right way. The Running & Movement School has spent the last 30 years developing and implementing movement, rehabilitation and speed protocols. First, we teach you how to move, then we teach you how to move faster.