Wednesday, January 9, 2013

GUEST POST: How To Prevent The Most Common Running Injuries

This is the first guest post I host on my blog!

Mathew Kyle from Altra Zero Drop  is my guest today.
Altra Zero Drop is a company run by passionate individuals committed to helping running enthusiasts achieve their dreams through biomechanically proper footwear.

Last year I had my first running injury and I am now very interested in learning about how to prevent having another one so I was very happy that Matthew offered a post on how to prevent running injuries!


How To Prevent The Most Common Running Injuries

Running is a highly popular sport, which provides not only health benefits but great enjoyment too. In fact, runners enjoy the activity so much that they sometimes overdo it, and this is the source of a lot of the problems. Unfortunately injuries caused by running are very common, and most of these are caused either by overuse and overtraining, or by failure to make proper preparations.

Overuse, or overtraining, means exceeding your normal running capacity—that is, you start running further or faster without working up to it properly. The general advice is to avoid increasing your training mileage by more than 10% in a single week. Overtraining also involves failure to allow you sufficient recovery time. This is one of the main causes of the most common running injuries, including Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Keep your schedule steady, and always take adequate rest.

The other main cause of foot injuries, of course, is failure to wear the correct footwear. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized. Digging an old pair of shoes out of the closet, or continuing to run in shoes that are obviously worn down, is a seriously false economy. It is essential to choose the correct kind of shoe you require, which will be based on your foot type.

 Foot type refers to the structure of your foot and the degree to which you pronate, that is, how far your foot rolls inwards when it strikes the ground in running. If you under pronate or over pronate, you must have the right kind of shoe or it could result in injury— click here for more information about getting the right running shoes. In addition, it is a very good idea to consult an expert in running biomechanics, who will analyze the way you run, and if there are flaws, such as an awkward stride or foot-strike, will show you how to correct the problem.

 However, your feet are not the only part of you that can get injured in running. Joint, muscle and soft tissue injuries are all too common as well, and these are mainly the result of not working up to your run correctly. Muscle preparation is particularly important. Before and after running, always stretch your muscles thoroughly, particularly the hamstrings, groin, quadriceps and calf muscles. This helps to increase the blood flow to the muscles, making them more flexible and so less likely to suffer injury. However, you must not stretch cold muscles—warm up first for at least five minutes, with a walk or a cycle ride. Do a gentle cool down afterwards, to help get rid of waste products that build up in the muscles. It is also essential to stay hydrated, and if you will be running for more than one hour, drink a sports drink in order to restore the electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, which you lose by sweating.

Regardless of whether you are a novice or a seasoned marathon runner, injuries can happen to anyone. It is a great shame when it happens, as you have to take a break from running, and probably from the rest of your life as well. The good news is that most of these injuries can be avoided with common sense and good preparation.
Thank you Matthew!