10 Best Ways to Extend Your Running Life
It’s easy to overdo it; a lot of runners do, but it’s worth it in the long run to find your limit & not extend past it. Runners should extend their mileage only 10% per week to avoid injury even if you’re feeling good enough to run longer than that. Run smart! You want to keep those legs injury-free!
2. “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY”
Don’t run through the pain. If you’re feeling unusual pain, then be smart & back off. Sometimes, we runners really like to run through pain, but this can cause major injury. If you are experiencing unusual pain in your muscles, then take a day or two off until you feel well rested to get back on the road or trail again.
3. THINK ABOUT SHORTENING YOUR STRIDE
A shorter stride can lower your impact force, and reducing the risk of injury. Run with your normal stride, then try to shorten it by 10% but only for shorter distance like half of a mile in the beginning. This advice may not apply to those with an injury related to their gait.
4. STRENGTH TRAIN TO BALANCE YOUR BODY
With strong muscles, you will keep your body properly aligned. It is especially important to strengthen your hip muscles. Most knee injuries are related to weakness in the hip area. Strong hips (glutes, adductors, abductors) increase stability all the way down your leg to the ankle. To learn more about hip strengthening exercises, contact me.
5. USE R.I.C.E. FOR INJURIES
RICE right after an injury. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest the injury, ice it on and off for 15-20 minutes, compress it to help reduce inflammation, and elevate it if it’s your foot or ankle (but not necessary for a hamstring or hip injury). The MOST IMPORTANT thing to do is REST until your injury is healed. That means no running or exercise that could prevent it from healing faster. RESTING is your time to heal, meditate, and get other things done.
6. “RUN ON A LEVEL SURFACE
It may be hard for some running routes to have level surfaces depending on how good the roads/sidewalks are. If your one foot is running on a slant while the other one isn’t, then unnatural pronation and injuries in the hips can occur because your body is unbalanced. Injuries from running on uneven surfaces usually occur if it is done regularly. If that is regular for you, then consider running on a track or a treadmill.
7. LIMIT YOUR AMOUNT OF RACING AND SPEEDWORK
If you do speedwork twice a week, and race on the weekends for a number of consecutive weeks, then it is best to cut back. Doing that much speedwork and racing greatly increases your risk of injury. Racing takes a toll on your body, thus adequate REST and RECOVERY is a necessity! Reduce your speedwork to once a week and your races to once a month or once every other month. Personally, I race only about 5 times a year because with each race, I’m trying to PR, and training for that goal is hard on my body. I believe that we need periods of rest where we aren’t training for race or doing any speedwork, and running lighter to give our bodies a break from hard training.
8. STRETCH YOUR LEGS
Stretching your hips, quads, hamstrings, and calves keeps your knees, feet, & achilles tendon healthy. Tightness in muscles can increase risk of injury. Definitely stretch after your run when your muscles are already warm. It is okay to stretch before your run, but it is best to warmup first & do dynamic stretching. Ask me about dynamic stretching if you are unfamiliar with it.
9. DON’T RUN EVERY SINGLE DAY
Some running experts believe in cross training during rest & recovery days, while others believe in in “real” rest day of not exercising at all. Either way, taking at least one day off of running per week is best to help your body rest & recovery. Remember, your body builds on rest & recovery.
10. WEAR RUNNING SHOES THAT FIT PROPERLY
Find the right shoe for your foot type. When buying shoes, go to an actual running shoe store and ask an expert to help you find the right shoe for your foot. Try on multiple pairs of shoes of different brands, and makes sure you are able to run with them. Most running shoes stores let you run around the block before deciding to buy them. Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Please feel free to comment as well.