Running has become one of America’s most popular forms of exercise, with over forty million people donning their trainers and putting in the miles every day. At first glance, running might appear like a simple sport to participate in. However, it can be a challenge to avoid injury if you run regularly. Regrettably, sixty to sixty-five percent of people will suffer injuries while running each year. This is particularly prevalent among those who run over forty miles weekly, and those with less than a few years’ experience of the sport. The following tips will help to keep you injury free, while you pursue your favorite pastime:
Prior to even contemplating stepping out on the open road, you should ensure that your feet are properly protected with the right footwear. The best approach is to get a fitting done at a specialist running shop. Your feet ought to fit snugly at the heels, with some space around the toe area. To obtain the best fit possible, visit the shop wearing your normal running socks. If you use shoe inserts or orthotics, try the footwear on with these in place. Buying a good pair of shoes is not sufficient – you have to inspect them frequently too. It is prudent to replace your running shoes every half year, or after you have run about 500 miles, depending on how often you run.
Stretching exercises are an important part of a runner’s daily routine, to maintain and enhance flexibility. These exercises will stop injuries from occurring, and improve your athletic performance considerably. Only stretch your muscles after you have warmed them up — typically, about ten minutes of light cardio will be sufficient. Never rush your stretching exercises, and include all extremities and joints. Another excellent way to stay flexible is to do yoga several times per week. If you lack the time to attend a full class, there are many yoga poses that can be done at home for a deep stretch after your run. Examples of these poses include the Butterfly Stretch, the Seated Forward Fold and the Pigeon Pose.
All runners require efficient cardiovascular activity to perform well. You need to gradually prepare your body to cope with the stress of training sessions. The number of runs you do should be built up slowly, as should the intensity. This progression ought to be staggered, with periods of lower intensity and volume at specific times throughout the year or season. When increasing the mileage of your runs, only add roughly a mile each running day to avoid over-training. For instance, if you run fifteen miles over five days during the week, do not run over twenty miles the following week. You should add a mile each day, over the five days, rather than running twenty miles the following week by running an extra five miles on one day.
The human body is not a machine. Everyone ought to have one or more rest days per week, to allow their muscles to repair and grow. If you feel tired or sluggish, it is wise to take the day off training. Alternatively, you could run for a shorter distance or time than you initially intended. Cross training enables you to sustain your cardiovascular fitness, without damaging your joints from excessive running. For instance, swimming is a fantastic complimentary exercise, because it puts little stress on the joints and can help your legs to recover after a long run.
Running is a fulfilling pastime. However, conditioning your body to its’ physical demands takes time. If you still encounter injuries after following the above advice, try consulting a running specialist. Someone with knowledge of running biomechanics will identify problems with your running style, and explain how to address these. A good running style will stop your muscles from fatiguing quickly, and increase your energy efficiency.