Spring is around the corner! Goodbye winter and hello longer days and warmer afternoons. For us runners, it means more frequent runs, longer mileage, and perhaps an upcoming race. Unfortunately, as we increase our mileage we also increase our risk of injury. 80% of runners report a running injury at one point. Give these tips to reduce your risk of injury while running a try!
6 Tips to Reduce Injury While Running:
- Take Shorter Steps: Our greatest risk for injury is when our feet hit the ground (stance phase). Studies show that by taking shorter, quicker steps, we reduce our stance phase time and can reduce injury risk.
- To Stretch or Not to Stretch: Research is divided, but the one consensus is that we should have a muscle balance between flexion and extension muscles (ex. your hip flexors/quads and hamstrings). If 1 muscle group is tighter than it’s opposing group, you may want to stretch it.
- SLOWLY Increase Mileage: Loading your system quickly when it is not ready is a recipe for injury. It is better to slowly increase your mileage; the recommendation is about 10% a week.
- Do Heel Raises: Studies showed that runners with stronger calf muscles were more efficient with running. Heel raises are a quick way to help strengthen your calf muscles.
- Cross Train!: Runners should strengthen the whole body with different types of movement. Plyometrics has been proven to be one of the best way to do this, especially for aging adults who want to continue running.
- Consider Transitioning to Running more on the Balls of your Feet (Forefoot/Midfoot Running): Forefoot runners have been shown to have less knee and hip injuries. However, this transition should be very gradual and guided by someone who is knowledgeable as a quick transition can cause injuries.
If you have pain or an injury as a result of exercise or running, reach out to a trusted physical therapist. The PTs at Action Potential are skilled in assisting injured runners and are able to help you return to running safely and confidently. Contact a local physical therapist today to help reduce your risk of injury while running.