Injury doing any form of exercise is a possibility but with the right form, consistent training and the right equipment can help prevent common running injuries, says Nandini Reddy.
Running injuries generally tend to happen when you push yourself beyond your limits in an unsafe manner. It is always good to test your boundaries and increase your endurance limits but that should also be done with an understanding of what harm you can do to yourself if it is not done under proper guidance.
Some of the most common running injuries are Runner’s Knee, Stress Fracture, Shin splint, Achilles tendinitis, Muscle Pull, Sprains, Blisters and temperature related injuries. Here are a few things that you can do to avoid these injuries
You should always start you run with a warm body in order to prevent injury. Warm up the body by walking or skipping or doing jumping jacks. After your body is a bit warm then start your stretches. Stretch your muscles especially focusing on the muscles in your legs and back.
Be aware and safe
When you are running be aware of your surrounding. Choose a flat surface to run on and avoid steep hills. Try and stay in well-lit areas and keep your cell-phone handy for emergencies.
Drink water before you start running. If you are running in humid climates then you might want to carry a bottle with you. After the run hydrate again. You can even add electrolytes to your post-run nutrition. This will help replenish the nutrients you have lost because of sweat.
Ice provides relief from sore muscles. So if you feel soreness for more than a day after your run then do a cold compressed treatment until it settles. Most initial injury treatments for sprains and soreness requires ice. If the pain doesn’t go away after this then it is best to consult with your coach or doctor to ascertain if its a more serious injury.
Prep your gear
Always test new shoes before going on long runs. Wear double layer socks and use bandages to prevent shoe bites if you doing a dry run with new shoes. Break them in slowly so that you can avoid getting blisters. If you are prone to getting blisters because of your shoes then apply petroleum jelly on those areas. If you are running with bottle carriers, sunglasses and hats, remember to do short runs with them to test for comfort and to ensure you do not blister at those areas. Do not try on new gear on the day of a big run.
It is important to wear the right clothes when you are running. The clothes should let you sweat easily and should also be made of material that isn’t harsh on your skin. These will help in reducing temperature related injuries like overheating. If you are running in hot weather ensure you are protected against sunburn and similarly in a cold climate dress to protect against hypothermia. If you have thigh burns then wear a pair of cycling tights below your shorts for comfort.
Listen to your body
It is very important to listen to your body. All runners experience a bit of soreness. As long as it subsides its okay. But if you feel like you are in constant pain that is preventing you from running itself then it is important to consult a doctor to ascertain the extent of your injury.
Rest, recovery, strength training and nutrition form the main pillars on which running injuries can be avoided so try you best to ensure that you have a schedule that takes care of your body while you enjoy your running.