Running: Tips for injury prevention and Strengthening #tipsytuesdaytri

This is usually the time of the year that we all get super excited to get back into a routine. Especially if you took some time off over the holidays. However, it is crucial to not dive in too deep, too quick. Getting injured and discouraged is no fun, so read on below for some quick tips on how to stay healthy while getting back into a routine:

  1. If you’ve taken some down time, or significantly reduced your training, gradually amp up the mileage and intensity. Just because you were running 80-100km/week in October, doesn’t mean that you should aim for this your first couple weeks back. Not only are you increasing your risk for injury, but you can’t expect the same fitness to be there either. Expecting this and aiming for the same speed is just going to set yourself up for disappointment and discouragement. I hate to say it, but it took you a few weeks to lose this fitness….. expect the same, to get it back. Enjoy the challenge but keep a realistic mindset and goals.

  2. If losing a few pounds is your goal, don’t expect to see changes in the first week. This, the same as gaining fitness, takes time. Be patient and smart, and it will pay off.

  3. ITB pain and plantarfaciitis are two nagging injuries that are very common. Here are a few key stretches and exercises that EVERYONE should do as they can help prevent these problems and can aid in getting them better:

  4. Side leg raises: Lay on your side with bottom leg bent. Keeping your top leg in line with your body, rotate your foot so your toe is pointing to the floor and heel towards the ceiling. Raise your top leg up ~18inches, keeping it in line with your body and foot rotated. Do as many as you can and work your way up from there. 30-60 is a good goal.

  5. Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall, hands on the wall, with one foot forward (knee bent) and one foot back. Keeping your back heel on the ground (foot straight), slowly lean hips and body towards the wall until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds, NO BOUNCING, and repeat 3 times per foot. The second calf stretch is exactly the same, but bend the back knee slightly, still keeping your heel on the ground. This will stretch your soleus…the deeper of the two calf muscles.

  6. Foam roll your quads, ITB and Hamstrings. I know it hurts, but it works!

  7. Piriformis stretch: Lay on your back with knees bet, feet on floor. Cross your right ankle your left knee and pull your left leg towards your torso. You should feel a stretch in your outer butt. Hold 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

  8. Add hill repeats into your routine. 6-8 times 45-60sec is completely suffice. Try to run hard uphill, keeping hips driven forward, feet light and standing tall. WALK back down in between sets. Hill repeats are like a drill to strengthen specific muscles and work on posture. Running downhill as quickly as you can only put unneeded stress on the knees and increases risk of injury.

  9. Stay on top of the mileage of your shoes, especially if you are prone to injury. I’ve always said 300-500km is about the lifetime of shoes before they start to break down. Some people can squeeze more miles out of their shoes but if it’s been long enough that you can’t remember how old they are, or you are starting to get some aches and pains, it may be time to look for a new pair!

Happy Running Everyone!!

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