Injury Prevention Tips

These are just a few general injury prevention tips and strategies that can really help ward off full blow injuries:

  • Increase mileage gradually. A sure fire way to hurt yourself is to double your mileage or increase it too rapidly. A good rule of thumb to follow is you can add 15 minutes every two weeks if you're trying to increase mileage. Therefore, if you're running 30 minutes you should do that length of a run for at least two weeks before adding more time. When you do add more time, you'll increase to a maximum of 45 minutes.

  • Add hills gradually. Hills stress different muscles so be sure to add them gradually to your training program.

  • Don't do speedwork on back-to-back days. The body needs time to recover from a tough workout so always make sure that you allow for an easy aerobic or recovery day after a speed day.

  • Run less. Sounds counter-productive but the less you run the less likely you'll get injured. We see this in the office quite often. Triathletes will get injured from running, rarely from swimming or biking. Running is the hardest on the body of the three disciplines. Runners tend to run all the time so they're just inviting injury. Adding cross-training can really decrease you're likelihood of injury. The heart is stupid - it doesn't know the difference between swimming, biking, running, skiing, etc. By converting an easy run day or two into a biking or skating day, you still get the exercise benefits with less pounding on your body. It takes 7-8 days of inactivity before you'll begin to lose fitness. If you're injured and can't run, you won't lose fitness if you're idle for a couple days. If you're going to be off running for a week or more, add some other form of aerobic activity and you'll maintain the fitness you've built up. Your legs may feel sore when you resume running but you'll stay relatively fit.

  • Warm-up before stretching. Cold muscles are hard to stretch so a short warm-up of 5-10 minutes to get the blood flowing will make stretching easier and more beneficial.

  • Use cold water over your legs after a run. Many elite runners who train out in Colorado know this trick and you'll often see them waist deep in the river after a hard run. Cold water helps the legs recover quicker - just like putting ice over an injury. In the summer, simply running the garden hose over the legs for a couple minutes will do the trick. Alternately, get in the shower and and run the cold water over your legs.

  • Soak your legs in a hot bath with Epsom Salts regularly. This is great way to stop injuries before they happen. Epsom salts have magnesium in them which can draw inflammation out of the muscles. The hot water also helps loosen up muscles so when you're done in the bath take a few minutes to stretch the muscles while they're warm.

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