Let’s face it…too many runners are injured every year.
Of the millions of people in the United States who run
either recreationally or competitively, over 50% will
suffer some sort of running injury just this year alone!
The types of injuries most runners suffer from include
shin splints, knee pains, lower back pains, Iliotibial
Band Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis, Neuroma, Iliopsoas,
pulled hamstrings, and Piriformis Syndrome.
I won’t even go into the detailed descriptions of all of
these because it hurts to even think about them.
But if you follow some simple running tips, then you can
avoid most if not all of these injuries.
I have run consistently between 10-30 miles a week for
the last four years, run 6 marathons, and numerous 10K’s,
without having one injury by following these simple running
Tip #1: Give your Body Rest
After doing any kind of hard run, you must rest for 48 hours
in orderto give your muscles time to rebuild. Running is an
impact sport and creates micro-tears in your muscles,
ligaments, and tendons.
In order to rebuild, your muscles need time away from running.
I personally never run the day after a hard run. Bodybuilders are
religious about resting to build muscles, and you should be too.
I have run with far too many runners who ran every day in their
younger years and now cannot run at all because they blew out
their knees. Our president, George Bush, ran four miles every day
and now can only mountain bike because of his bad knees.
Tip#2: Run in new Running Shoes
The last time I suffered shin splints, I was running cross country
in high school. in my father’s old running shoes. Hmm, I wonder
why I got shin splints?
The fact is the support in running shoes breaks down
significantly after 500 miles. Then you take a lot of impact
on your whole body.
So replace your shoes after 500 miles or three months, whichever
comes faster. Your knees are worth it.
Tip #3: Do long slow runs on the weekends
Long slow runs build your aerobic capacity in your legs. This means
your body learns to produce more energy and clean out the waste,
lactic acid, more efficiently. So running becomes more comfortable
and you don’t have to work so hard in order to get a good running
Plus slow runs produce less impact on your joints, which means
less injuries. I do a long run every weekend for years. This is
especially necessary for marathon training.
Tip #4: Go see a doctor if you do have any strange aches or pains
My brother thought he was suffering from heel pains. He spoke to
a doctor and found it was actually Plantar Fasciitis, inflammed
tissue in the foot. Now he can start the proper treatment which
clearly involves rest from running. After this he can go back to
Far too many runners continue running with pain in their bodies.
If you feel any pain, then you need to see a doctor. You might
need to see a specialist. Do what it takes to learn why you have
pains. Running should not be painful rather it should be joyful.
Tip#5: Run on natural surfaces
I met a guy a month ago who has run over 150 marathons. I asked
him how he has done all that running injury free and he told me
“by running on natural surfaces”. He told me he does most of his
runs on grass, trails, or soft surfaces. This creates less impact
obviously than running on concrete or asphalt or treadmills.
So find a trail and go run on it. Not only is it better for your legs but
you will be running with plants, trees, birds, and the glory of nature.
Sure beats dodging traffic.
So try some of these tips and they will allow you a lifetime
practice of running. While running the Catalina Marathon a month
ago, I ran by a couple both 90 years old. I told them, “I want to do
what you’re doing when I am your age.”
You too, can run to your later years if you follow some basic principles.
Gary Smith coaches runners to run injury free and joyfully.
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