ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR INJURY PREVENTION
Nobody likes to be injured. It stinks! It takes time away from your running, it’s full of uncertainty, and it can be discouraging. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to limit your risk of getting injured. Read on!
THE WARM UP
Injury prevention in running starts with the warm-up.
Michael Silva, physical therapist, exercise physiologist and strength & conditioning specialist and also President of FOUNDATIONperformance, believes that “warming up is one of the key ways you can help limit your running injuries.” He goes on to add that warming up is NOT a slow run where you think you’re doing a proper warm-up. Your warm-up should be “a combination of exercises to help wake up your neurological system and warm up the muscles and tendons that you need for your run.”
Well said, Mike! I took the time to outline some of these warm-up exercises for our Beginning Runner Group, but this is a routine that we all need to practice! Before each run, here’s what you should be doing.
In this video, Mike shows us some additional warm-up stretches you can do before your run.
Injury prevention is also highly dependent on how you approach your running recovery. As I’ve written before, running is a contact sport. As fun and as rewarding as it is, it can also be stressful on your body. A great way to think about running and the recovery that should follow, is to imagine a bucket full of water (thanks Mike for the analogy). When you run, you demand a lot from your your muscles, your tendons, your joints and your limbs and this adds stress to those parts of your body. Your body is the bucket and the stress is the water in the bucket. In order to properly recover from your running and to be able to add more running, you have to poke holes in that bucket to let out the water. Once you have let out enough water, you can now add more water, i.e. more running to your training. The holes represent all the recovery methods we have available to us, such as:
Home stim machines or Ice baths (for the more brave souls)
Sleep!! (right Mike?) - this is as important as anything else you do!
The green water line in the bucket represents the difference between being injured and running healthy. You should be emptying enough water out of your bucket to stay in the healthy range, so that you can add more running while avoiding injury.
Another way to think about running training and recovery is to imagine them both at opposite ends of a scale. If the scale is tipped too far in the direction of training, you risk getting injured. As you can also see, there is no such thing as too much recovery, when it comes to injury prevention. Obviously everyone is different and recovery time varies, but this basic principle holds true and it’s something you should always keep in mind as you listen to your body and follow its cues.
Another very important part of injury prevention is running-specific strength. This is the “glue” that holds everything together. Running strength exercises not only help you generate power (especially in your glutes and hamstrings) and maintain your running form even when you’re tired, they also prepare your body to withstand the physical stress related to running itself. Here are a few exercises meant to keep you running stronger, longer.
Hip & Glut strength - featuring a two-time Olympian!
Core Strength - not featuring a two-time Olympian
Here’s a good, little run-down of some of the things we’ve covered as well as some additional unilateral strength exercises. Featuring TWO Olympians, in our store!!...now I’m just getting carried away.
DEALING WITH AN INJURY
In the event of an injury, do not panic! There are many ways to deal with different types of injuries, especially in the early stages, and prevent them from happening again. Unfortunately, running injuries are about as common as running shoes (so you’re not alone) but with the help of your Coach, your Pacers and trained professionals such as Mike Silva, you can learn how to treat them and keep them at bay.
One of the most common problems that runners have is plantar fasciitis. Those dreaded two words that no runner ever wants to hear! This is caused by inflammation in the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that extends from your heel all the way to the ball of your foot. In this video, Mike shows you how to identify it, treat it and prevent it with stretches you can do even as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Let's run better and smarter, and win the battle against running injuries!
Photos and videos taken from the teachings of Michael Silva of FOUNDATIONperformance.