Injury Proof Your Running In 6 Steps

Get more out of your running by staying injury free. Keep those improvements coming by avoiding time out of training. I've had very few injuries in over 20 years of running. I credit a deliberate effort to avoid injury as the main contributor. Hopefully my approach can you injury proof your running. Everybody is different. Training history, injury history, body types, work stresses and variation over time. As a result we must take a dynamic approach to injury proof your running. 1. Dedicate time to becoming injury proof 2. Take notice of early warning signs 3. Progress training only as the body allows 4. Gently push up your fitness over time 5. Every now and then really push push the boundaries when in good physical condition 6. Prioritise sleep

Get more out of your running by staying injury free. Keep those improvements coming by avoiding time out of training. I’ve had very few injuries in over 20 years of running. I credit a deliberate effort to avoid injury as the main contributor. Hopefully my approach can you injury proof your running.

 

Everybody is different. Training history, injury history, body types, work stresses and variation over time. As a result we must take a dynamic approach to injury proof your running.

 

1. Dedicate time to becoming injury proof
2. Take notice of early warning signs
3. Progress training only as the body allows
4. Gently push up your fitness over time
5. Every now and then really push the boundaries when in good physical condition
6. Prioritise sleep

 

 

1. Dedicate time to becoming injury proof

 

Injury prevention is like anything else. To improve you need to dedicate some time to it.

 

Most of us are time poor. Injury prevention shouldn’t be about adding hours onto the training you are already struggling to fit in. Instead keep it manageable and regular. Make it easy to become a habit.

 

My approach is to schedule 2 x 15 minute sessions every week. Those 15 minutes could the start of a run. Incorporated as a warm up. They could be part of your strength training sessions.

 

Focus on whatever work will address your injury risk. This is individual. It might specific strengthening, technique retraining, flexibility work or a combination of the above.

 

 

2. Take Notice of early warning signs

 

We’ve all been guilty of ignoring the early signs of injury. The majority of injuries in running build up over time. Even those that appear to acute from an individual run usually are the final straw of an issue that already existed.

 

It is easier and takes less time to get over an injury the earlier you start dealing with it.

 

Truly listen to your body. Some pain and discomfort is normal at times from training, but there are different types of pain. Take note of tightness, sharp pains, pain that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time. Don’t take the chance to train hard through issues. Take the steps neccessary to deal with it now.

 

Early steps might be an extra easy day, to work on flexibility or some drills to correct technique. Ignoring the warning signs, might mean extended time off running or not being able to race at your goal race.

 

 

3. Progress training only as the body allows

 

This is an extension of point 2 in taking notice of the early warning signs of injury. If you have signs indicating injury or the inability to adapt to the current load, then you shouldn’t be pushing up your training.

 

Your body is amazing. It can adapt to almost anything if given time and the right stimulus. Push too hard too soon and it breaks.

 

Get your body in an inury free state. Allow the time it takes to heal. This doesn’t mean you can’t train, but progressing the training load before your body is ready will break it.

 

1. Dedicate time to becoming injury proof 2. Take notice of early warning signs 3. Progress training only as the body allows 4. Gently push up your fitness over time 5. Every now and then really push push the boundaries when in good physical condition 6. Prioritise sleep

 

 

4. Gently push up your fitness over time

 

The majority of training should gently push up your fitness over time. This process does take longer when measured in weeks. Measured over months to years you can reach higher heights.

 

Small increases each or every second week require patience in the early stages. But the accumulated effect puts helps build a very efficient and robust body. In this approach fitness gains comes naturally.

 

Runners often feel they have to run further or faster each week to get any benefit. Luckily this isn’t true. The body still adapts to a training run over the same distance at the same pace if repeated once or twice. For example, take a 10km run at 5:00/km pace. The first week it might feel a little difficult. Second time round it feels comfortable. Definitely some improvement in fitness. On the third time it feels the same, but inside the body you reinforced the neuromuscular pathways and added to effiency. Beyond this it is worth increasing the pace or distance.

 

Taking your time to gently push up your fitness will allow you safely absorb bigger training loads.

 

 

5. Every now and then really push push the boundaries when in good physical condition

 

This is what I consider the fun part. This is when we see big jumps in fitness.

 

It also comes with a risk. This training is taxing and will find your weak points. Those weak points are likely to break if you’ve skimped on the first 4 steps.

 

If you are injury free and have a good fitness base then you can go for it. Go far. Go fast. Do those sessions your mind thinks you can’t do. Then take some time to recover and go for it again. This leads to big performance gains.

 

We don’t need this level of hard work in every training week. When your body is ready for it, it only takes a small amount of this high end work to get the most out of yourself.

 

 

6. Prioritise sleep

 

The body does the majority of its repair work while it sleeps.

 

There’s no point in training if your body can’t recover from and adapt to it. Sleep plays a major role in this. So put it high up on your priority sleep.

 

My work has me doing rotating shift work. A mix of long day, afternoon, evening and night shifts. It plays havoc with my body clock. I have learnt the hard way getting less than adequate sleep leads to problems. Those problems include sickness, injury, poor performance and changes in appetite. My body doesn’t work anywhere near it’s best when sleep is compromised.

 

Put in the effort to plan ahead. Set up good sleep patterns. Make your room and bed comfortable to sleep in. Avoid bad timing of caffeine. Beware of computer, phone and television screens close to sleep time. Relax and give your body the time it needs to get you to your best.

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