We’re back with Part II of our Avoiding Running Injuries series. Check out Avoiding Running Injuries Part I for how-to protect yourself while running. This time around we’re featuring how to take precaution while off the running path. Dr. Thomas Fyda has once again provided us with words filled with runner wisdom.
Get the Right Shoes
“Get the right shoes,” Dr. Fyda shares, describing the need for “shoes that provide stability and cushioning. Some shoes focus more on stability and others more on cushioning. It all depends on your foot. Go to a good shoe store where there are knowledgeable salespeople who can help you pick the right shoe for your foot and your running style.”
Include Strength Training in Your Routine
Strength training is important to any athlete’s regimen. Increasing your strength decreases your chance of joint injury, as the muscles strengthen around your joints, allowing for more shock absorption and injury prevention. Diversifying your workout through cross-training is also an important part of being an efficient athlete. “Strength training is a type of cross-training that is important because it helps to avoid overuse and imbalances that can occur,” explained Dr. Fyda. “When you run all the time, certain muscles get used all the time and others don’t. Strength training and other kinds of cross-training help avoid these imbalances.” Strength training is also important to the overall athleticism of a runner. A stronger body can translate to a better form and more efficient run.
Flexibility is crucial to preventing running injuries. Stretching loosens muscles that may be tight from daily activities. Stretching, when coupled with warm-ups, help to get blood flowing into your limbs, increasing your range of motion and the amount of oxygen your muscles receive. When stretching before a workout, it’s important to take your time and activate every muscle and joint. Rushing through your warm-up and stretches increases your risk of injury. Be careful not to stretch too hard when you’re “cold,” as this could lead to straining your muscles. It’s just as important to cool down and stretch after your run.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
Maintaining a balanced diet gives you the energy you need to perform. If you run longer than an hour, you should be taking in higher amounts of complex carbohydrates like pastas and breads. This will give you enough fuel to burn for your exercises. Make sure to properly fuel up before, during and after a workout. If you’re running longer distances, bring simple carbohydrates with you to consume while running (like GU packets or something similar). Your body can easily digest this and keep you going.
When focusing on your running regimen, it can be easy to forget how important the things you do off the track are to your overall fitness. However, if you want to get the most out of your run and, as importantly, avoid injury, you don’t want to skip these important steps. If in the case you do end up on the side of injury, please be sure to contact our office for more information. We're here to help get you back out there as quick as possible.