RUNNERS, DON’T LET AN OVERUSE INJURY STOP YOU IN YOUR TRACKS!
If you are a runner, you have probably suffered an injury. Most running injuries are caused by overuse. There are 5 key contributing factors in overuse injuries.
To prevent overuse injuries that interfere with your running, follow this training advice:
Most runners use mileage goals such as the next half marathon or Crescent City Classic to get motivated. Having a goal in mind is a great way to stay focused, but make sure that you have the time to prepare for the event. Starting distances will be limited by your endurance. Beginners, increase your overall weekly mileage by about 10%. Advanced runners may be able to increase a little faster but should be careful. Beginners should limit their run training to 3 days per week. Advanced runners can train up to 4 days per week. While this sounds conservative, it will likely land you safely at your destination.
Altering training intensity is a great way to improve performance. When intensity increases, however, frequency must decrease. Limit yourself to 1 high-intensity running workout per week. Plan for 1 day at the track each week to work on speed, power, and stride length with short, measureable distances. Utilizing 1 high-intensity training session per week will allow your body to gain strength and power for better performance.
Muscular and Joint Imbalances
The repetitive nature of running lends itself to tight calf muscles, hip flexors, and low back extensors, among other areas. As these muscles become shortened and tight, the opposing muscles become lengthened and weak. These imbalances cause alterations to the running form and can lead to injuries. Work to stretch these shortened muscle groups regularly after running. Also work to strengthen opposing muscle groups to keep good muscle and joint balance.
Many runners run too hard and too fast. They get inspired, love the feeling they get after running, and over train. Rest is one of the most important aspects of training. Your body needs time to rest and re-build from the stress of running. Beginners should limit running to 3 times per week, advanced runners no more than 4 times per week.
Proper recovery includes physical rest, proper nutrition, and hydration. If you are going to be training, your body needs the tools to help you recover: nutrition supplements, a healthy diet, protein, and water. A registered dietitian is a good source to learn more about foods essential to recovery.
Overuse injuries will really cramp your style- they are difficult to heal and often interfere with your training. Avoid overuse injuries!
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