Injury Prevention for the Beginning Runner
“It’s a mistake to get caught up in letting mileage become so important that it dominates your training, especially if you maintain this attitude when moving into subsequent phases of training when various types of quality running are your primary emphasis…………..As I’ve mentioned the benefits of high mileage are well preserved once attained.” -Jack Daniels
Today we are going to give a few tips on how to avoid injury in order to become a better runner.
When starting a running regiment the most important thing to consider is finding the proper footwear. Throughout our lives we wear shoes that are built up and cause our feet, ankles, and hips to become lazy and inefficient. Because of this, most people have a tendency to over pronate.
When people over pronate their ankles collapse in more than normal which in turn causes a shift in the knee and hips. The shift puts unnatural pressure on the joints which can lead to knee, ankle, and hip problems. These problems are amplified with each stride because the body puts 2.5 to 4 times its weight in force per step. The shoes are made to help with these problems.
Shoes today are built with specific purposes. For people who over pronate there are shoes with stability on the inside part of the heel that can keep a person from collapsing in. For those who don’t over pronate there are neutral shoes that will allow the foot to stay in a natural position. It is important to get the shoes that fit your running style; color, brand, and price should be non issues when getting fit for a shoe.
Duration and Intensity
The next thing an athlete needs to consider is how much and how hard they should be training. While growing up we are taught that if we want to be like the greats we need to emulate what they do. The things we forget as runners is that most of the best athletes in the world built up a foundation throughout years of training.
When first starting to run it is important to start off easy. There are great programs in the Jacksonville are that will help you complete your first 5k, half marathon, or even marathon. The two programs in Jacksonville we recommend checking out are the Galloway Program and Personal Running Solutions. For those in the St. Augustine area check out the North Florida Track Club. These programs can help you by making training plans and offering times that you can meet to run with other runners.
For the runners who want to go it alone don’t start off too intense. It is easy to get caught up in the high mileage and intensity trap. Start off slow and gradually build up. Run 15-25 miles the first few weeks and start building up only after your body can handle that type of mileage. The body needs time to adapt to training, the easiest way to get hurt is to overload it with mileage and allow it no time to recover. When building you should do so slowly, no more than 5 miles up every few weeks with a taper towards the end of the season of training (This applies to all athletes, not just beginners). There should also be a set race you are working towards and a few weeks should be taken off after the race to allow the body enough time to recover from that season of work.
There is a lot to take in and remember when trying to become a runner, the most important thing though is to have fun with it. Running can be rewarding and challenging and if done right you can enjoy it for the rest of your life.