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When we follow any running program, we need to increase our mileage slowly. The rule of thumb is an increase of not more than 10% every week. If you have run a total number of 20km this week, do not run more than 22km next week. This will prevent excessive fatigue in your legs, which may otherwise lead to injury.
Do not treat every run as a race day run. If you are following a training program, there will be basically days when you will run fast and days when you will run slowly, so if you run fast on all your running days, you will invariably get injured. Your muscles should become stronger, not tired and sore, with running.
Incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises in your running. Do the stretching exercises after every run. Strengthening exercises should be done for the lower and upper body as well. Most of us feel running involves the lower body only like the feet, ankles, knees and hips. However, the arms, abdomen and back also play an important role. If you have weak arms, it may affect your speed, since your arms and legs move in unison during running. If you have a weak abdomen, there will be more stress on your back and this will affect your back.
Take rest days in your training. When you start running do not devote more than four days in a week to running. Every time you run, small micro-tears appear in the muscles, which regenerate and become stronger, when you sleep. Hence, rest and sleep are sacrosanct for runners. A rest day does not necessarily mean you do not exercise. It means you do not run on that day, but can do calisthenics and body strengthening exercises on that day.
You could also indulge in some alternative sport like cycling or swimming on rest days without exerting yourself. One day in a week should be devoted to total rest with no exercises of any kind. Keep this day reserved for any social occasion you have to attend.
Buy the right pair of shoes. You have to buy a pair best suited to your feet. By this I do not mean the price or brand, but to buy shoes suitable to your foot type. Are you a supinator (feet fall outwards during running) or pronator (feet fall inwards during running)? You have to choose between a motion control or stability or well-cushioned shoes. Many times wearing the wrong pair of running shoes can lead to pain in the knees, ankles, shins or hips.
Many a time, a normal person who does not run can also suffer from crippling pain in the knees because of an irregular gait, which could be easily rectified by wearing custom-made orthotics (padding inserted in the shoes by a specialist to suit your walking gait) built inside the shoes instead of resorting to expensive surgery.
Eat and hydrate yourself properly when you train, because without proper nutrition, you could become susceptible to injury. For instance having a fruit like banana every day will prevent cramps, since the fruit is rich in potassium. This element in the periodic table prevents cramps. Similarly have a balanced meal with a higher protein diet when you run more mileage. Protein intake prevents muscle damage. Proper water intake is essential not just for running but maintaining good health.
Running constantly on a hard surface can cause injuries. In running, there is no ideal surface. If you participate in road races, you will find a tarred or cemented surface. If you run ultra-marathons, you will find a large number of surfaces depending on the location like sandy in deserts and beaches, dirt trails like forest areas and tarred and cemented in towns and cities. It is best to run on a variety of surfaces as above.