Running Tips: Injury Prevention

Posted on Jan 21, 2016

Posted in: Running Tips

Running Tips: Injury Prevention

Last week we shared tips on increasing your cadence, or steps per minute, to improve performance and prevent injuries.  Cadence continues to be important for runners of all kinds.  However, as your mileage increases, it is also important to pay attention to where you are running, how to safely increase your mileage and periodically updating your footwear.  These are 3 tips our physical therapists give to our patients to prevent injuries:

Tip No. 1: Pay Attention to Where You Are Running

Roads are everywhere and, as such, runners use them more than any other surface.  Unfortunately roads are built for cars, not runners.  They have camber, which means that the center of the road is higher and each side slopes downward to allow water to run off.  For safety runners typically run against traffic with the left foot downhill and the right foot uphill.  The left foot is under-pronating and the right foot over-pronating.  Neither leg is happy after a sustained effort.  The higher your mileage the more unhappy your legs will be.  First and foremost, BE SAFE!  When it is safe to do so, try alternating sidewalks and road every few blocks, including with and against traffic.  If it is not safe to run with traffic, then try altering your route completely to include more variety.  If you are listening to music, then do not run with traffic AT ALL!  Did I mention you need to be SAFE? (just making sure).

Tip No. 2:  Safely Increase Your Mileage

Increasing your mileage in a sensible manner will also reduce your risk of injury.  Typically, a 10% to 20% increase in mileage per week is considered safe.  If you increase your speed, add hills work OR do intervals.  Any ONE of these changes is considered that week’s increase. The more you change at any one time, the more you risk injury.  Add all 3 things in one week and you are almost guaranteed a problem!

Tip No. 3: Replace Your Footwear When Needed

Finally, replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles if you are wearing traditional shoes.  Many of the lower profile, more minimalist shoes need to be replaced sooner.  Avoid wearing your running shoes for other activities to prolong their life.

Questions or comments? Don’t hesitate to email Kari at [email protected]. Have a great weekend!

sports injuries