Running long distances, comes with aches and pains, it is almost inevitable. However, there are many tips you can use to reduce the risk of injury and stay healthy and strong throughout your training period. Here are a few tips on injury prevention:
- Warm up and cool down before your runs- Yes, warming up your muscles is extremely important. You want to be able to elevate your heart rate, VO2, and get the blood flowing to your muscles. This will make your muscles and joints less stiff. You should warm up for about 5-15 minutes to really benefit from the effects. Cooling down is just as important. A light jog, walk, or swim are perfect ideas for a cool down. This will release the lactic acid in your muscles, preparing you for your workout for the next day.
- Strength Training- It is vital to strengthen your muscles when you are training. Running alone is not good enough to get you to reach those 26.2 miles and all of the running in between to train those miles. Strength training increases bone health and reduces the risk of injury with stronger muscles surrounding your ligaments.
- Sleep- YES! Sleep is vital in injury prevention, so take that extra hour of sleep on the weekends. Cardiovascular performance can be reduced by as much as 20% with sleep deprivation. Try to aim to get 8-9.5 hours of sleep a night to let your body rest.
- Rest and recover- Take your rest days!! Rest days are the best days, for your body and your mind. After hard training days should be your rest days.
- 10% rule- FOLLOW THE 10% rule. When training make sure you are only going up by 10% in mileage a week. Luckily, you have great coaches that lead the way to increasing your mileage the correct amount.
- Listen to your body- If you feel something hurt, take notice and do not run. Rest a few days until the pain is gone. You would rather be out for a few days rather than a few months.
- Use the right equipment- Yes, that means shoes for us runners. Make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your feet and that they are not too worn. This can cause several nagging injuries that can be cured with a switch of a shoe.