I have news for you: Running is tough on the body. There’s no other way to say it. From your knees taking a pounding to your ankles being worked to the max,; from the ever-present threat of straining a muscle or tearing a ligament to issues with dehydration, and you’ve got yourself a pretty dangerous sport considering it’s not even a contact sport! So, if there are so many ways to get injured while running, what are some ways to avoid and prevent injuries while running?
Here are a few tips to avoid injuries while running
(1) Be well hydrated:
Hydration is a good healthy habit, regardless of how much you run. But, if you can keep hydrated as a habit, you’ll find that your electrolyte balance will be on par and your muscles will be less likely to strain.
(2) Have the right running shoe
I cannot stress this point enough. If you DON’T have proper-fitting shoes and shoes designed for the terrain of your run, you’re literally setting yourself up for a very painful running experience. Don’t do it! Pay the extra money and spend the extra time to ensure you have exact-fitting shoes. A “close-enough” fit is never an option for running shoes. An “exact” fit is required.
(3) Pace yourself
Many runners get injured because they over-exert themselves early in the run, which can cause muscle injury. It also tires you out so much that by the end of the race you’re barely hanging on and are running with very poor form, which is a primer for injury.
(4) Warm-up and stretch
A good warm-up and stretching session is necessary and should be a given. However, it’s surprising how many runners just jump on the trail cold, with no warm-up or stretch. I like to begin my warm-up by walking and stretching simultaneously (when practical). Don’t overdo it, though. Overstretching can cause injury, too, which completely defeats the purpose of stretching in the first place–which is to help prevent injury.
(5) Proper nutrition
Prior to running, you’ll want to ensure that you’re pumped full of proper nutrition to give your body the right energy and your muscles the proper healing power. You know the drill: Potassium for muscles and Carbs for energy.
(6) Correct clothing
Believe it or not, your choice of clothing can have an impact on your ability to mitigate injury while running. Your clothing shouldn’t be a hindrance to your running form. Are you interrupting your running tempo to constantly adjust something? If so, you’re not outfitted correctly. Put some thought into the socks, shoes, shorts, support clothing, shirt, cap, and sunglasses you might wear while running. This isn’t a leisure hike on a trail, this is a run we’re talking about!
These are just a few basic ideas to help you get into a “safety first” mentality when it comes to running. There is an abundance of other material and advice out there regarding safe ways to run and avoid injury, but hopefully, this blog post gets you in the right mindset.