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Injury-Free Running: 6 Simple Tips

By on Jul 20, 2013
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Injury-free running is the goal for many runners, especially those new to the sport. But it’s easy to be tempted to push yourself hard and structure your training programmes in such a way that you exacerbate the risk of incurring injuries.

Today we review an article that is an easy read for those relatively new to the sport. It incorporates some standard mistakes that runners make – as well as some easy fixes that you can incorporate in your workouts.

Simple steps to injury-free running

With a few simple steps, you can increase your chances of steering clear of injuries and maximising your running enjoyment. The Mens Fitness article highlights half a dozen of these key steps and is worth checking out.

  1. Avoid stretching too deeply during your pre-run warm-up. While deep stretches can be a useful part of your post-run routine, deep stretching before a run can leave you more slugglsh and potentially more susceptible to injury. A gentle early running pace, or even walking at the start of your workout, can be a more effective practice.
  2. Ensure that you don’t try and take on too much too soon. Overuse injuries – including shin splints and knee injuries to name a few – pose a serious threat to runners who rapidly increase their running volume and frequency. A simple fix is to make running one part of a varied cross-training routine.
  3. Don’t push yourself too hard. Quickly following one hard run with another hard run is a sure way to increase your chances of injury. But that’s something that’s easy to avoid – for example, by simply following a tough workout with a lighter session.
  4. Be wary of running by pace. A whole range of factors determine the intensity of a session. So focusing purely on pace can be highly misleading. Instead, the article advocates running by effort, taking care to gauge the intensity of the run – for example, by your ability to hold a conversation during the workout – and making sure that level of intensity is what is required as part of a sensible running programme.
  5. Watch your speed. Speedwork can be a great tool for runners, especially those training with a particular time goal in mind. But, we have to face it, incorporation of speed sessions in your training programme may well increase your susceptibility to injury. The article advocates both moderate and gradual increases in speed, as well as ensuring that you incorporate a rest interval after each repetition.
  6. Keep it natural. Improper form can cause all manner of injury problems – but quite often these occur when people take on advice about improving running form! Beyond a recommendation that you keep to a relatively short stride length and also land on your mid-foot, the article advocates running in a way that is natural for you (and which may well differ from the running form of other runners).

…If you’re running a long distance, like a half marathon, deep stretching during a warm-up could do more harm than good…

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