So you have recently been taking up running as part of the fitness routine, and you are lovnig the results. As a newbee runner you are enjoying the new found energy in running and you just want to keeping going longer and harder. Before you jump the gun too much, here are some common reasons for running injuries, and some practical steps on how to prevent them.
Common reasons for running injuries include:
1. Forgetting to Warm-up Or Cool down
This is probably the most widespread of the common running mistakes, one that leads to innumerable injuries. You wouldn’t press your car full steam ahead, if it hasn’t warmed up right, so why would you do that to your body? Make sure you spend the first 10 minute warming up, stretching or brisk walking, till you fell your body temperature rise a little. This is most important in the mornings, when the temperature is cool and your body has just awoken from sleep.
2. Skimping on Shoes
Running shoes wear out after 600 – 900km of running, so you should replace them (even if they look fine) after running this distance. I myself am guilty of keeping and keeping my shoes, because I have grown attached to them! Some have seen me through many a half marathon. Well yeah, be kind to your body and change your shoes once their time is up. Also, don’ t be a fashion victim – buy a good pair of running shoes that have sound technology behind them, not just because they look cute and snazzy.
3. Too Much, Too Soon
Experts agree that, to avoid injury, it’s best to add no more than 10% to your current distance a little at a time. I find that 10% per week is good. So 2 short runs on the weekday, followed by a long one on the weekend. A good formula is to keep adding 10% for three weeks, then going back down a little for the fourth week as a recovery week.
4. Ignoring Pain
There’s a difference between a light stitch in the side, because you started off to fast, and a pain that’s from muscle tearing. If you knees are screaming in pain, it is time to stop. Most stitches will ease if you slow down a little. But a burning muscle tear will not subside. Don’t be a hero – stop if you have that sort of intense pain.
5. Running at Someone Else’s Pace
Run at a natural pace, not someone elses. Otherwise you will burn out early in the race. Also step up your speed as you are approaching race day, but try as far as possible to run your own race.
6. Choosing The Wrong Fuel
Runners needs better fuel than people who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Remove fatty, processed foods from your diet, and add lean proteins (like eggs and salmon and beans), wholesome whole grains, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies instead. Chia seeds are a great source of Omega3 and energy as well which you should add to the mix.
7. Not Rehydrating
You might not feel it but when running, you lose tons of water and minerals in sweat. Rehydrate constantly with water and also isotonic drinks in between and during a long distance run. Take more Water than the isotonic of course.
8. Not Running
I don’t need to tell the runners how hard it is to get back on the bandwagon once you have fallen off. No matter what, do not stop running (unless you have an injury) for more that 2-3 days in between). It is so hard to pick up the momentum again. All the good will be undone once you have hit 5 – 7 days no running. Even if it is a short 20 minute run, stick to the routine. It is easier to pick up than from zero base!
Good luck and happy race day!