5 Injury Prevention Tips for Newer Runners
Staying injury-free will help you get the most out of your running journey.
Whether you are new to running or are a seasoned running veteran, injury prevention is extremely important. In general, new runners are more likely to get injured because they often excitedly decide to do too much, too soon and too fast.
Therefore, if you are a new runner, the faster you learn about injury prevention, the more likely you are to stick to running for a long time. Not only do injuries set you back, but they can also discourage you from continuing your running journey.
Fortunately, you can reduce your risk for running injuries with these tips.
1. Gradually increase your weekly mileage
Ideally, you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. If you do too much too soon, then you are putting yourself at risk for getting hurt. With that in mind, many coaches advocate the 10% rule as a rule of thumb for increasing your mileage. You can also try adding half a mile to 1 mile to your longest run per week every week. You can add an extra day of running, provided that your additional run is not too long. If you are in doubt, err on the side of caution and your body will thank you.
2. Wear proper shoes
Running shoes alone will not cause nor prevent injuries. However, it’s important that your shoes fit you properly and work well for your feet so that you can run efficiently without causing any extra strain on your lower extremities. Your shoes should be comfortable and not cause you to have to adapt your natural stride to fit your shoes. When you are trying on running shoes, don’t be afraid to run around the store to see how they feel and ask a shoe fitting expert for help.
3. Work on your running form
Beginners often feel like they need to take longer strides in order to run faster. Unfortunately, if your stride is too long, you will end up landing with your foot in front of your body. When you land with your foot in front of your body, you put additional stress on your hips, knees, ankles and feet. Furthermore, over-striding creates a braking action, making you less efficient in addition to increasing your risk for a lower body injury. Therefore, you should focus on landing with your foot underneath or slightly behind your hips with each stride. You should also aim to have a cadence of at least 160 strides per minute. Additionally, work on keeping your torso and pelvis stable.
4. Don’t neglect strength training.
You don’t have to become a gym rat in order to strengthen your body for running. Your strength training routine should primarily focus on your glutes, core, and lower back. Exercises such as planks, glute bridges, bodyweight squats and supermans are great for runners of all levels and do not require you to get a gym membership.
5. Add variety to your training.
Many running injuries are repetitive strain injuries. Therefore, you should try to vary the length, pace and terrain of your runs as much as possible. Don’t just do the same 20 or 30-minute run on the exact same route.
What other running injury prevention tips would you add?