Running has all kinds of benefits from weight loss, stress relief and physical conditioning to developing your competitive spirit. Like any high impact sport, injuries can develop over time. Read on to find out how to avoid injury and keep on running…
1. Warm up and cool down
Whether you like to warm up or not before setting off for a run is a personal choice. Some people swear by it, others think it makes little difference to injury prevention. Our mantra is ‘why risk it?’ Start your workout with some gentle movements and stretching before setting off.
2. Wear the right running shoes
Getting kitted out with the right footwear can make a huge difference to your chances of remaining injury free. Your trainers should suit your running style and be professionally fitted. Don’t forget to splash out on a new pair every 400 to 500 miles to keep the shock absorption at the right level.
3. Start slow
Do you have realistic expectations about how far and how fast you can run when you are just starting out or coming back after an injury? Keep your progress to no more than 20% per week to prevent running injuries (http://www.bupa.co.uk/running/injury-prevention-and-recovery/injuries/) due to physical stress.
4. Don’t neglect your recovery
How you look after yourself in the recovery phase after your run actually determines how quickly you will become fitter and stronger. Make sure you give your body time to recover properly after a run.
Stretching is pretty controversial in the running world. There is no real evidence that it prevents injury but the boffins haven’t ruled out its importance completely. If you feel like it’s beneficial to your workout then try to stretch for at least 15 minutes before each run.
6. Build your strength
Running takes its toll on your joints and ligaments as you pound the pavements. Try adding some strengthening exercises to your weekly workout to help protect yourself against painful injuries like groin strain.
7. Eat right
Garbage-in, garbage-out isn’t just a rule for computers; it applies to your body too. Eating a healthy diet will help you go the extra mile. Eat plenty of protein to repair and build muscle tissue and don’t forget your carbs and fruit and veg.
Drink, drink, drink. For shorter runs water will work just fine. If you’re going to be out longer or running in high temperatures, pack a sports drink and hydrate every 15 to 20 minutes.
Don’t underestimate how important the right gear is in avoiding injury. Well-fitted trainers are a necessity but don’t forget to be visible and wear breathable wicking fabrics.
10. Don’t ignore the niggles
If you start to feel things going wrong don’t put off a visit to a healthcare professional, as most running injuries build up over time.
And remember if you do come home limping, the age old principles of RICE should be applied immediately (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects. This article was written on behalf of Bupa Running.