4 Rules for Staying Injury-Free When Running and Exercising

Running is the ideal cardio exercise. But its high impact nature can lead to a myriad of injuries and health troubles. Nevertheless, you could dodge most of the trouble by abiding to the following injury-free running rules.

Rule No. 1: Build the Intensity Gradually

If you’re a new comer to the sport of running, then expect some pain and discomfort as your body is not yet conditioned to the activity. Fortunately, you can keep the discomfort at bay opting for a gradual and progressive training approach mainly via following walk-run-walk method.

The walk/run program can help you build cardio power without running the risk of injury or overtraining. Aim for a running interval length that feels comfortable and take enough recovery boots (mainly walking) when the pace is no longer conversational.

Rule No. 2: Always Warm-Up and Cool Down

A proper warm-up raises your body temperature and boosts blood-flow to your muscles; this helps you prevent premature fatigue and injury both during and after the run. As a result, make sure to make warming up a habit before a run or race. Jog slowly for 10-minute and pick your running pace gradually.

On the other hand, the cold-down can also help you avoid muscle soreness and injury afterwards. Not only that, an easy 5-minute jog as the workout comes to an end has been shown to accelerate recovery—mainly by getting rid of lactic acid.

Rule No. 3: Get Proper Form

Proper running form can break or make you as a runner. Bad form—whether it’s running or any other training program—leads to discomfort, pain, injury and burnout. On the other hand, developing the proper running form can help you ward off injury, boost running economy, thus be able to run farther, faster with less trouble.

Here are some of the most common proper form traits:

Go forward. Focus on pushing forwards with every step you take. This will put into full use your hamstring and gluteal muscles in the push-off and keep your center of gravity constantly moving forward.

Don’t overstride. Heel land –as a result of overstriding—leads to runner’s knee and other serious overuse injuries. As a result, develop a fore-foot land by taking short and quick strides.

Relax. Holding on tension when running can hinder performance and increase the risk of discomfort and injury. Conversely, promoting good relaxation practices can help you run with ease.

Don’t cross the line. Crossover gait is no good. One way to prevent it via imagining a line between your legs as your run, each foot ought to land on either part of that line.

Rule No. 4: Run on the Right Surface

To ward off injury, you need to mix your training surfaces to match your type of run.

Grass. This is the ideal training surface when it comes to reducing stress on the joints and the bones as it absorbs most of the energy from your foot-strike. Opt for grass surfaces for your long runs where keeping a conversational pace for 45-minute or more is the way to go.

Synthetic road. The curves can cause tightness in calf muscles and irritate iliotibial bands. Do all your speed work—running intervals at 80-90 percent of your max—on this surface, and be wary on the curves.

Trails. Soft road reduce the risk of overuse injuries such runner’s knee and ITB syndrome. Make sure to do the bulk of your weekly long runs on this surface.

Pavement and sidewalks. Sometimes a necessary evil as most runners are city dwellers. This running surface usually puts on more pressure on the body. Add to that, traffic and other irritants. Do the least of your running on the sidewalk and always remember to run with good form and put safety an utmost priority.

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