One of the most annoying things as a runner is getting injured. It's one of the most dreaded things that can happen to you.
It keeps you from running, it's painful, which is the most nagging thing, and it’s going to keep you from whatever goals you had set out to do.
Not only that, but it can set you backwards from the progress you've already made. So, what are you going to do? Today I want to share with you five tips on how to prevent injury and running on this episode of Runner's High.
1. Cross Train
My first tip for you today, and this is not necessary, something runners are great at is to cross train.
I know historically, when I ran for the first eight or nine years of my competitive running career, I was pretty much only running.
I sustained countless injuries in college when we are pushing the limits of mileage, of intensity all the time, and racing four seasons out of the year; cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and triathlon eventually, in the summertime. That push my body to a limit that it didn't want to go and it breaks.
That's what injury is, when you put your body farther than it's getting go, or you haven't conditioned it properly and put over an overload of stress on it, then you become injured.
Cross training gives your body a break from those repetitive motions that we always have in running.
One of the biggest things that we miss out on as runners is lateral movement. And that's why you can end up getting some of those issues with those lateral moving muscles because we're forward and back, forward and back.
Now, if you're on the track, of course, forward, slight left turn, forward again. But pretty much we're a forward moving sport, there's nothing else to do. Cross training is a big deal to prevent injury for you.
If you're not a competitive athlete, then it's absolutely easy for you to work that in.
If you are a competitive runner, then what you might want to look at is doing something like swimming, biking is a good option. But I like swimming, in a sense that you're going to use your whole body, it's a good core workout, as well as the aerobic activity that you're going to be able to get from swimming.
You can actually do a little bit more activity, if you're a seasoned runner on the track doing your intervals running, and then you can get some of that long run- aerobic activity in the pool and work on your aerobic system when you're normally would be doing that with a long run.
It's a good way to still be getting in positive benefits for running without actually being out on the streets at the same time.
2. Limit Your Mileage Increases
Number two, very important that you listen to me on this. Hear me out, listen to this one.
It's going to be against what you want to do, but I promise, it's very important for your health long term, limit your mileage increases.
Now, I know that Susan down the street, did a couch to marathon, and she got away with it. But the reality is, when you put that undue stress on your body, you're more likely to be injured. In my opinion, couch to marathon is idiotic. I don't care who you are, it's a dumb idea.
Yes, some people can do it, some people can get away with it. But I think the amount of risk you give yourself when you do couch to marathon or something of that intensity so quickly, increases your ability to get hurt, much, much higher than if you'd actually follow a little more conservative schedule and, you know, extra time to get to that marathon.
I mean life, as is always described is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't try to do something over yourself that quickly.
The general suggestion is to do 10% maximum of increasing mileage a week. This is a good, you know, rule of thumb.
But if you find that you're stretching too much, you're getting too fatigued, you're showing symptoms of overtraining, lethargy, depression, anger, you know, you're going to want to dial that back.
3. Periodize Your Schedule
And that actually leads me into number three, periodize your schedule.
What the heck do I mean periodize? Well, if you're new to running, then you may not be familiar with that term.
If you are familiar with the term, then you already know what I'm talking about.
But I'm going to assume you have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm talking about taking a rest week.
That doesn't necessarily mean taking the week off. That's a little bit mental to you. But it does mean cutting back your mileage, cutting back the intensity and giving your body the ability to recover.
The whole idea about injury as I said once, I've said twice, and I'll say a third time is that you're pushing your body farther than it wants to go.
That means you need time to recuperate and recover and for the muscles to come back to near full capacity before you begin working out again and tearing them apart again, so that they can be rebuilt.
Periodization, is making a schedule where you say, I'm going to do this much time where I continue to work harder and harder, harder.
And then this much time when I back off my schedule right now my coach has me on two-one.
So, I work hard for two weeks, then I get one week recovery.
I've also in the last couple of years, move to working out six days a week instead of seven days a week. So, I get a day off each week. And that in my point, and this is my career has helped me.
There's a point where seven days a week was appropriate for me during college.
And now after college, trying to limit the injuries is not as appropriate for me anymore. And the gains you would make from that extra time isn't going to be as useful.
Number four, and this is one of my favorites, something I learned to love. So, just like I hope you love this channel, don't forget to hit subscribe, right down there, that little red button stay tuned to this channel for more episodes of Runner's High.
Number four, your tip to stay injury free in running is pre-hab. That means knowing what those problems are before they become a problem.
If you've never run before, well, it's a little bit of a guessing game.
But there are some very common things that happened with runners; knee issues, ankle issues, piriformis, and then tightness leading to pulling a variety of things. Shin splints is also very common.
Pre-hab involves doing exercises that are going to strengthen those small weak muscles that are more likely to be injured before they get injured.
That's the whole idea, doing something to help you out beforehand.
If you stay tuned, I'll actually show you some rehab exercises in another video. So, as I said, don't forget to subscribe to this channel for more episodes of Runner's High. On to number five.
5. Identify Aches & Pains Early
My fifth tip is actually going to be a little bit before, a little bit during but it’s immediate attention to any aches and pains you might have. It's simple to say okay, yeah, that hurt a little bit much, but it's fine, I’m just going to keep running, it's no big deal.
The truth is, sometimes you get little aches and pains, and they aren't a big deal, but they can become a big deal. So, it's important that you spend time to identify what those areas are, why they're happening, and what to do about them.
Sometimes you may be getting aches and pains because you're wearing the wrong shoe.
Sometimes it may be because you increase your mileage too much. Other times it could be because you increase your intensity too much or you're running on the same kind of surface over and over. So, you're running on a treadmill and that's all you run on.
Well, if you don't vary the elevation on your treadmill, then you're going to have more of a tendency to be injured over time because you're running the exact same pattern over and over and over.
So, overuse of the exact same firing pattern with your muscles, that helps lead to an injury.
So, varying your train helps you, but immediate attention to your muscles comes in several forms. If you pull something, well, that means you're probably done for the day.
Stop right there, get some ice on it, probably take an anti-inflammatory, you can look into massage. There's tons of different massage tools on the market, whatever can be most appropriate for you. In another video actually going to address foam rolling for runners, foam rolling for rollers.
Yeah, that's going to be great. Foam rolling for runners, so stay tuned the channel for that.
But getting that attention to those little areas that hurt like recently I had a little bit of an issue with my piriformis.
It's never happened to me before. It's kind of a freak thing. But for me to continue to run and run without issue, I had to give it immediate attention.
And that came in the form of massage and doing what would have been pre-hab exercises but I didn't know it is a limiter. So, those are my five tips today. I hope you enjoyed them. As always, don't forget to subscribe, and I'll see you next time for the next episode of Runner's High.