How to avoid running injuries
7 important steps for keeping your run training injury free
So many people are their own worst enemy when it comes to running. Here are seven tips for how you can be kinder to yourself while still getting the results you’re after…
Always warm up
Start with a walk and gradually build from a slow jog into a faster jog. Muscle strains are common when you challenge a cold muscle! If the weather is cold you’ll need a longer warm up.
Never ignore pain
If you feel a niggle in a joint or muscle, don’t ignore it. These things rarely improve by themselves and if left alone usually get much worse. Book in to see your physio. You may just need to release some tightness, and if caught early enough it may be fixed with one treatment. Leave tightness too long and an imbalance can occur causing major inflammation and long term issues.
Land with your foot under your body, not stretched out in front
Check out our information about stride rate and how it affects your efficiency and likelihood of injury.
Aim for a shorter, smoother stride at around 180 steps per minute
Support your running with strengthening and stretching exercises
Think running is all you need to achieve your long term running goals without injury? Think again. I recommend resistance exercises (body weight or weights based workouts) at least twice per week focusing on core, pelvic and ankle stability as well as leg strength. You’ll need to ward off tight muscles with regular stretching and some foam roller work too.
Your shoes should be under 12 months old and should be chosen according to your biomechanics and experience
Even if your current shoes still look bright and shiny, if they’re over 12 months old chances are the materials inside are compacted and no longer offering the same support and cushion. When you try on a new pair you’ll notice the difference!
Don’t choose your shoes according to what looks awesome on the shelf, what you’ve seen on Pinterest and Instagram, or by what your friends wear. See an expert at a dedicated running store where you can try on the shoes and run on a treadmill. The best stores will employ staff trained in podiatry or physiotherapy and will ask you questions about your injury history and your training. Tell them about any injuries you’ve had in the past, tell them how many kilometres you run per week and take in your old shoes for them to look at. Don’t leave it to chance.
Increase your kilometres GRADUALLY
The most common reason why people get injured is they do too much, too soon. Start with three short, easy runs per week – spread out and with plenty of rest, stretching and strengthening. Gradually increase the distance. If your long run is currently under 10 km, then only increase it by 1km each week. If your long run is over 10km, then increase your distance by around 1-2 km each week. Rushing the process will only leave you open to injury and is not giving your body the best chance to adapt to the training. Every 4 weeks decrease your kilometres and have an easier week.
Running is an awesome way to improve your fitness, burn a stack of energy, meet fantastic people and learn a lot about yourself. Unfortunately injury is what stops most people from being consistent and really learning to LOVE it. Follow the steps above for how to avoid running injuries and you’ll really reduce your risk.
Got any questions? We’d love to hear them below!
Want to feel confident that you’re following a gradual, safe program that will still get results? Check out our Online Running Program for all levels