7 Tips to Stay Injury Free
Nothing derails your running progress quite like an injury. We hear it time and time again: Enthusiastic runner begins training just to be sidelined a few weeks later with nagging knee pain.
But there are things we can all do to stay injury free, and enjoying years—even decades!—of running bliss.
Here are 7 tips to stay injury free:
Improve your running form. Making minor adjustments to your running form can pay off in big ways. If you’re a heel striker, focus on making sure your foot lands underneath your body and land midfoot. Have you noticed that your shoulders and neck are sore after running? Keep a loose and relaxed upper body while running to maintain proper running posture.
Mix it up. Try intervals, long runs, tempo runs, hill repeats, and more. Many running injuries are a result of repetitive strain. But incorporating workouts at different speeds helps reduce injury.
Keep your steps short and quick! Always aim to be above 160 steps/min (spm)—anything below this is hurting your knees. And 170 spm or above is ideal. Advanced and professional runners have a stride rate of around 180 spm.
Tip: Use Weav Run’s “Fixed Tempo” to set a steady beat and match your steps to the beat. This guide can help you determine how to increase your stride rate.
Increase mileage gradually. Adding too many miles too quickly leads to injury. You can prepare your body for the stress of running and workouts by gradually increasing mileage and intensity. A rule of thumb is to increase mileage by 5-10% per week. Remember to incorporate ‘step back’ periods into your training too. Plan your progression like a staircase. Increase in volume and intensity, but include periods of reduced volume and intensity at certain times during a training period.
Don't tense up! Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed (no clenched fists!) and elbows in.
Stretch and foam roll. Flexibility is essential for healthy running. It will help you avoid injuries and improve performance. In addition to static stretches (stretches done while standing or sitting in one place), many runners also benefit from dynamic stretches like high knee drills, leg swings, and skipping.
Try strength training. A program that targets your hips, glutes, lower back, and shoulders is a great way to improve your running form and reduce the risk of injury. Runners generally find that 2-3 strength training sessions per week are beneficial.
Tip: A quick and easy way to check your form is by filming yourself. You can also have your running form evaluated by a running expert. And they can provide tips to improve your form and prevent injury.
Have other tips to add? Let us know below.
Article by Kelley MacDonald.