By Neil Bever
Whether you signed up for the 5k, 10k or Half-Marathon, congratulations! Running is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health and increase your lifespan. Setting a goal is a great way of holding yourself accountable as well! Even if you plan on mostly walking, you’re still decreasing your risk of all-cause mortality compared to being inactive.
But even for all the great benefits of running, there is still a risk of injury. Nearly half of runners every year will experience an injury.1 The group most at risk of an injury are novice runners. While this can deter people from running, the good news is that rarely is it because you’re “not made for running.”
Most running injuries are from running too much too soon.
Improper programming is the leading cause of injuries in runners. This means that you need to just slow down your training and slowly increase your training volume over time. Easier said than done. While in chiropractic school I signed up for a marathon. I hadn’t run in years, but I did cross country for a year in high school, so I figured I’d be ok. I found a training program online, but I didn’t want to do the “novice program” because that took longer than the “intermediate program” and I wanted to get going now!
By trying to fast-track my programming, I ended up with some knee and shin pain that impacted my long distance training sessions towards the end of the program which really was the most important part of the training.
The best way to ensure that you limit your risk for injury (and also enjoy running) is by easing in. Slowly push your comfort zone, but stay in your limits so that you can recover and hit your next training session. You can improve your recovery by eating enough calories (as you increase your training you must increase your caloric intake), getting adequate sleep (no, you can’t catch up on the weekends) and managing your stress (again, easier said than done).
Check out Adam’s post “I’ve committed to Wabash Run the River, now what?” for some training templates.
Prevention of Running Injuries: View Article