Best 10 Running Principles to Stay Injury-Free

4  RUNNERS NEED STRENGTH TRAINING

While running more over time makes you stronger, supplementing your running with strength training can help your body adapt easier and be less prone to injury. “Strength training is an important way to prevent injury with new runners. However, rather than jumping right into an intense routine, I recommend an activation routine with resistance bands rather than free weights while runners learn the proper form of each movement,” Puzey says.

5  SLOW DOWN, THEN SPEED UP

Running can seem simple enough: Lace up your shoes, head out, and run a set distance at a pace you can tolerate. This strategy works for a while, but when you start trying to get faster or reach a time goal for an upcoming race, the pace you run for your workouts might get faster, too. If you up the intensity too much, injuries are more likely to happen.

“Most runners do the majority of their training at a moderate effort. However, to maximize gains, the vast majority of training (up to 80%) should be at a conversational pace, while the other 20% should be at a higher intensity,” he adds.

6  STRETCH, PERIOD

Instead of thinking of stretching as something else you have to do if you want to avoid injury, make stretching part of your workout. “I recommend dynamic stretching and activation routines before most runs, and especially before intense workouts and races to increase blood flow, prime the legs, lungs, heart and nerves for harder efforts, which, in theory, should help reduce the likelihood of injury. I recommend yoga and static stretching after runs, workouts and races,” he says.

7  USE CROSS-TRAINING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

There will be times when you aren’t feeling up for another run. Fortunately, running isn’t the only way you can get in shape and improve your cardiovascular fitness, lose weight and even become a better runner.

“Cross-training is a safe, effective way to increase training volume without increasing the risk of impact injury,” notes Puzey. “I recommend low-impact aerobic activities like cycling, swimming, aqua jogging, hiking and cross-country skiing as alternatives to running when you aren’t feeling 100%.”

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