5 Injury Prevention Tips Every Runner Needs to Know

In most cases, you don’t just “all of a sudden” get injured.   Occasionally, yes, but usually there is a reason why you are injured.  

Most commonly your body has created a muscle imbalance to some stressor in your body.  These stressors affect your entire body but localize in one area (the site of your injury).  These stressors are usually due to training too hard or too often, not giving yourself adequate recovery time, poor nutrition, the wrong shoes, or past injuries creating compensatory patterns that lead to overload.   

The most common running injuries are 

  • ITB syndrome 
  • Plantar fasciitis  
  • Achilles tendinopathy 
  • Patella femoral pain syndrome 
  • Compartment syndrome 
  • Piriformis syndrome 
  • Tibial stress syndrome 

There are five tips that can prevent you from getting injured.  They are as follows:

1. Add Strength Training 

Your cardiovascular system may be up to the task, but are your muscles and ligaments might not be.  Strength train in the offseason to challenge your body in multiple planes of motion to prevent repetitive strain injuries (RSI). 

Remember repetitive strain injuries develop from training the body in the same plane of motion and using the same muscle groups over and over.  As a result, muscular imbalances occur and poor movement patterns develop.  A good strength training program trains your body in all planes of motion and strengthens your muscles and ligaments to withstand running.  

Strength training will also help you maintain good running form when you are tired and good upright posture.  A strong core increases your stability and prevents unwanted motion during running. And if you want to PR your next race, strength training will make you faster! 

2. Get the right shoes 

There is no easy answer to footwear. There is no simple answer to what shoe is the best for you.  I certainly believe in having strong, mobile and ‘natural’ feet. 

But, I do not believe that we can withstand hours of pounding on the pavement in a minimalist shoe without injury.  I also think the foot should be allowed to move as it is designed to do and should not be propped up on a stiff orthotic. 

Every foot is different.  If you are concerned about your feet, go to a good clinician and get some help and go to a running store that knows how to fit shoes.  Our favorite shoe store is Super Jock & Jill. 

3. Proper Nutrition 

To avoid injury it is very important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.  To manage inflammation in your diet you have to avoid SUGAR in all its evil forms.  It is also prudent to avoid high allergen foods (soy, gluten, dairy in most forms and peanuts), most grain-based carbs, radicalized fats, and processed foods.  Also, don’t forget to SLEEP and drink lots of water.   

In avoidance of inflammation, it is mandatory that you maintain your blood sugar.  Most endurance athletes tend to carb binge which will lead to insulin dysregulation.  Yes, you need more carbohydrates when you are training hard, but try to pair them with good fats (avocado, coconut, ghee, nut butter, olive oil) and protein to avoid that insulin spike.  You should have about 100 cals of fat per meal.   

For those of you not exercising remember that insulin secretion caps at about 60g of high-density carbs per day (grains, fruit, sugar, fructose), consumption above this will spike your insulin too high.  Insulin/blood sugar dysregulation will lead to cortisol dysregulation and eventually a host of other health issues.   

4. Foam Roll 

What a great way to keep your tissues healthy!  However, most runners I see in the clinic don’t have a regular foam roll routine. And most folks use their rollers wrong.  Because it has ‘roller’ in the name does not mean you ‘roll’ on it for therapy.  Yes, you roll to find that ultimate sore spot in your muscle, but then when you find that spot, stop and relax on the roller, letting it do the work to release that trigger point. 

There is a definite art to foam rolling, and that is why we have clinics, workshops and free videos!  Come and join us and learn how to take care of your own muscles to prevent injury. 

5. Rest

A final note on REST…I can’t believe how important this is.  Remember if you work out too often and do not give your body adequate recovery time, this will not only lead to soft tissue damage but will also cause elevated cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue.  Rest and recovery are critically important to staying healthy.

If you find yourself struggling with an ongoing issue related to running or preventing you from running, we can help. Call the front desk to schedule an appointment: (425) 776-2936

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