4 Tips for Injury Prevention
“I don’t have time to stretch!”
“I’m just a casual runner, I’m not a real athlete.”
“I could never do a race that long, I would be dying afterwards.”
I find myself thinking these phrases every now and then. I work more than 40 hours a week and I have never won any awards from races, and even I forget from time to time that injury prevention is a crucial part of training. Every runner is an athlete; so that means there is always a risk for some type injury. Did you realize that you actually do have time to decrease your risk of running injuries and increase your performance capabilities? Even the busiest runner can incorporate the following into his or her routine:
1. Stretch: A good stretch with proper form can take as little as five minutes before and after a workout. Stretching decreases the likelihood of stiffness and soreness following a workout, but the biggest benefit can come from stretching before a workout. If you want your body to perform at its best, it needs to be able to move through the full range of motion. Increasing flexibility allows your whole body to move more efficiently and decreases the risk of injury and discomfort.
2. Equipment: Wearing the proper clothing and shoes decreases the risk of injury and literally takes as much time to incorporate into your routine as getting dressed for the run. Wearing properly fitted shoes means less chance of blisters and foot injuries. Additionally, properly fitted shoes can decrease the likelihood of pain in other joints along the kinetic chain up through the hip. Clothing that is too loose can cause chafing while clothing that is too tight restricts motion. Choose running gear that is roomy enough to allow a full range of motion but not too loose that it rubs against the skin during motion.
3. Hydration: Many “injuries” stem from dehydration. Just like your car can’t run without gas, your body can’t be expected to operate its best if you don’t hydrate properly. Physical endurance is closely tied with the body’s ability to perform regulatory functions; even slight dehydration negatively affects every body system. An easy way to increase the amount of water you drink is to keep a water bottle at your desk or work station and sip on it at regular intervals throughout the day. Additionally, water can be ingested through fresh fruits and vegetables; making another easy way to add water into your day with little effort.
4. Listen to your body: A day off for healing does more good than working out when you aren’t feeling well. Our bodies were designed by God to have a day off; God himself took a day to rest in the story of creation. Pushing through a workout for the sake of just getting it done is more detrimental to training as it can prolong a mild injury that may have healed with some rest.
Do you have any advice to add? Comment below!
Sarah is a cradle Catholic, certified athletic trainer, and proud Purdue alum. During her time at Purdue, she ran her first 5k with a friend and got hooked on running. She currently lives near Louisville and enjoys the variety of road races in the Kentuckiana area, her favorite being the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon (hello, free bourbon!). When she isn’t busy covering high school games or training for her next race, she teaches the confirmation class at her church and adds new adventures to her to-do list.