When I started dating my boyfriend, I decided to take up running to spend more time with him. Little did I know that there are specific things you need to do to prevent injury and increase your running distance. If I had known these helpful tips I could probably have spared myself months of injury rehabilitation.
Good shoes are a must
I did not realize that you needed a shoe that has been fit to your specific needs. I started out running in shoes that I had bought at a department store. Within a month, I began to have pains in ball of my foot. It made it very difficult to run so I decided to buy a good pair of running shoes. I bought a pair of minimalist shoes that felt good and took the pain away. No one told me that you need to gradually increase your wear time in this type of shoe to let your feet get used to the decreased cushioning. This led to an overuse injury called Achilles tendonitis. It put my running on hold for six months and I spent months going to rehab to get over this injury. After this I learned to go to a shoe store that specializes in fitting runners with a shoe specifically for their foot. They put me on a treadmill and were able to pick out a shoe that was specific to my running gait. I have not had an injury since then and my shoes feel great.
Follow the ten percent rule
When increasing mileage, I really didn’t follow any rhyme or reason. I just started increasing by a mile a week and I think this also contributed to my injuries. A physical therapist later told me that you are not supposed to go up more than ten percent of your current mileage per week. An example is if you currently are able to run one mile, you should not go up more than 1/10 of a mile per week. When you reach five miles, you can start going up by half a mile per week. This helps adjust your body to long runs gradually and helps prevent injury.
Don’t forget stretching and strengthening
Many runners don’t bother to stretch and think that running is all they need to do to train. This is completely untrue and can lead to injury. You should incorporate a routine during your week that includes leg and core strengthening. Strong muscles help stabilize your body and prevent injuries. When you are done exercising, a thorough stretch will help relax your tight muscles and increase circulation. I now do both of these to keep my muscles flexible and strong.
I am now up to running seven miles and am training for a 15k. By following these techniques and running in a good pair of shoes for my feet, I have been able to enjoy my runs and keep the injuries away.