Running Without Injury
In one of my prior posts, "5 Minutes of Running Can Add Years to Your Life," some of the dividends of running were discussed. The most remarkable thing discovered was that even short runs can have tremendous benefits. Given the return on the running investment, it is an exercise option worth consideration. Of course, you'll need to discuss running, as you would with any rigorous exercise program, with your doctor before you begin.
I ended that post with the warning that running can lead to injury. While there is much truth in that warning, there is also a great amount of truth in the point that those injuries can be avoided.
How Common are Injuries?
Fifty-six percent of runners address some kind of injury over the course of a year. To put this in perspective, this is about the same frequency at which football players are injured!
The reason for this pile up of hurt is that most runners don't train properly. Running comes off as pretty straightforward, and perhaps this is part of the reason why injuries are commonplace. Perhaps people think that runners do not need instruction or do not need to give attention to technique. Perhaps people do not believe that running is a skill that needs to be learned. Staying injury-free is dependent on structuring your training to prevent those injuries from happening.
Tips for Avoiding Injuries
Most running injuries are repetitive strain injuries, a range of pain or discomfort in the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues. Repetitive strain injuries are normally caused by the repetitive use of certain body parts.
Just as variety is the spice of life, it also lends flavor to running. Routines tend to be repetitious, and repetition gets boring. Not only will you find your training dull, but you will find yourself taxing those same body parts and risking injury. Mix it up.
- Trail running will add variety and the turns, changes in elevation, and changing terrain will alter your stride.
- Rotating between pairs of running shoes will change your biomechanics and help reduce the stress of repetition.
- Change your pace. Training should include slow recovery runs as well as sprints.
- Incorporating strength exercises into your program will correct imbalances and increase strength.
Addressing aches after they present is one thing, but it would be better to not beat yourself up in the first place. Adjust your workouts to how you are feeling on a daily basis. Perhaps you need to slow it down or even skip a day altogether.
Know your discomfort. If you feel moderate aches, soreness, and fatigue, adjust your run to make it easier on yourself. If you are feeling sharp, stabbing pains, stop altogether to avoid potential injury.
Form is also an important element of running. Count your steps as you run. One hundred and seventy steps or more per minute is about right. If you are below that count, you are overstressing your legs. If you are below the 170 mark, focus on quicker and shorter steps.
Do not overstride. Your feet should land underneath your hips at the center of your mass. Finally, do not slouch. An upright posture will ensure more efficient form.
My next posts will explore some of the concepts we introduced this time around such as trail running for variety, the biomechanics of running and strength training for running. Additionally, we'll explore the benefits of having a running coach. See you there!
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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