|1/ Running too far too soon.
It might seem obvious but this is by far the number one reason that we see running injuries at the clinic and it is especially true of people that are already fit but are new to running. Running is about more than just cardio. Your body needs time to get used to the impact on the tendons and joints and if you increase the load on them too quickly before your body has had time to adapt they are going to become inflamed and painful. To prevent this follow a running programme and build the distance steadily over time.
2/ Running too fast too soon.
Very similar to the above but pace is also very important. You might not be running too far but if you are running too quickly then you are still at risk of injury. The quicker the pace the more load on your joints and the more likely that you will develop pain. Don’t be tempted to increase your pace too soon. Even if you can run at a good pace a good running programme should include easy and hard runs to vary the load on your joints. Joining a running group can really help you stick to a good pace for you.
3/ Cross training.
Running is great but it is very repetitive and loads the same muscles and joints repeatedly. Adding variety to your fitness routine such as a swim, HIT class or gym workout etc will help you build strength and resilience and could go a long way to helping you prevent injury.
4/ Rest Days.
Running on consecutive days is fine if you are a seasoned runner but is to be avoided if you are new to running. Rest days are vital.
5/ Self care.
Sleep and nutrition are often overlooked but are more important than many people realise. Eating a well balanced diet with good protein and getting adequate sleep will help with your energy levels for your runs and also help you recover quicker between runs meaning you have less chance of injury and enjoy your running much more.
Vary the surfaces that you run on where possible. This will vary where the force is on your joints and prevent specific areas from being overloaded. Varying your routes can also help prevent the mental fatigue of running the same routes over and over.
Very few of us like it or want to do it and if I’m honest I don’t do it as much as I should but there is a reason manual therapists go on about it all the time.. it’s very helpful at preventing injuries! A regular short stretching routine after your runs can really help!