If you are starting out as a runner, you've chosen a sport that requires little investment and equipment. It's easy to get started, which can sometimes result in doing too much or running with poor form. However, if you are careful with your training, you should be able to avoid injury and increase your ability, endurance, and speed. Here are tips to help you avoid injuries.
1. Be selective about your shoes.
Your old tennis shoes from your high school days are not the best running attire. Running shoes wear out fairly quickly, and an old or used pair may be broken down, generally not providing the support you need. Even though running does not require much equipment, shoes are an investment. Go to a running speciality store to get your gait analyzed and to try running several different pairs of shoes before making your selection. Try to (as much as possible) ignore the price tag. If you are worried about price, you might want to ask the salespeople to show you shoes from last season.
2. Start slow.
Even if you were active in another sport, running is different because it puts a unique strain on your legs and feet. You might have excellent cardiovascular conditioning, but you'll need to go slow at first to help build up your body to withstand the stress of the impact that comes with running. Doing too much too soon is one of the main causes of injury for new runners.
Once you've established a baseline, you'll also need to go slow when increasing your mileage or your speed. For speed work, start with short sprints and gradually increase the length and number of sprints over the course of several weeks. For mileage, try not to increase your weekly miles by more than 10% at a time.
3. Roll out your muscles.
Stretching is an injury prevention standby, and it is still useful. However, every runner should have a foam roller to help knead out the sore places after a run. The foam roller almost works like massage, helping to promote healing and flexibility.
4. Cross train.
Take ample time to rest your body between running days by choosing other activities to balance out the running. Swimming, biking, yoga, or weight lifting are all good activities to help make you a better runner and for promoting long-term injury prevention.
For more information, contact a sports medicine specialist in your area like Associates In Orthopedics & Sports Medicine PC.