Let’s face it: injury prevention is a critical component of training. An injury can make or break our efforts to exercise successfully. And when it comes to running, overtraining is the number one cause of injury. It’s so important to be mindful of your body and its requirements. As usual, your experienced Gixo coaches are looking out for you. Here are a few things you can do to prevent injuries, and most effectively recover from a tough run.
Sleep: Though this one seems to be hard to put into practice (sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day!), we all know sleep is vital to functioning optimally. Aim for between seven and nine hours each night. The better rested you are, the less prone to injury your body will be.
Form: Running properly — with short, quick strides — is key to protecting your body. The less airtime your feet have, the less chance they will land in a funky way that causes injury.
Shoes: Go to a running store and ask the experts to fit you for the right shoes. The best shoes will have your feet striking comfortably on the ground. Be sure to avoid shoes that cause your toes to cramp in, have too much wiggle room, or cause your ankles to cave in/out, etc.
Warm Up and Cool Down: Warming up and cooling down before and after a run help decrease the likelihood of injury. Warming up gives your muscles and joints a chance to soak up blood and oxygen, priming them for what’s to come. Cooling down allows your body to adjust to the norm again, preventing your muscles and joints from cramping or aching. A decent cooldown includes some sort of stretching. Our muscles experience a new level of comfort and durability everytime we stretch further and deeper.
Incremental Improvement: Avoid burnout! It’s so important that you train to improve every week, but not to the point of barely succeeding and exhaustion. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 10% rule. Aim to improve your numbers by 10% every week, whether that means in miles or minutes.
Cross Training: While many people have a tendency to be “all in” when working toward a goal, rest and recovery are key components of training. Strength training is an excellent way to cross train! Training the lower body with exercises such as squats and lunges is a great way to give your legs a break from running, while still improving the overall running experience. Additionally, having active stretching sessions, like yoga, allows for the muscles to recuperate faster and helps with injury prevention!
The Gixo team wants you stronger — and safer. So get out there to train while keeping these injury prevention measures top of mind. You’ve got this 5K (or 10K or half marathon). And we’ve got your back!