Running Injury Prevention

With spring arriving, I have started to see lots of runners heading out in the afternoon sun to hit the trails with excitement in the change of season, weather and sport.

Whether you are a casual runner or you are preparing for a race this summer, injury prevention should be in the back of your mind.

First of all, let’s start with possible running injuries that can appear when starting out. The most common running injuries are plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, metatarsalgia, periostitis, achilles tendonitis, calf muscle tears, patello-femoral syndrome, and iliotibial band syndrome.

Here are 7 tips to help you stay away from those injuries:

  1. Listen to your body. Your muscles, bones, and joints need time to adapt.  If you experience pain, you might want to decrease the distance or intensity of your training and take a rest day.

  2. Keep a good cadence. You should do 3 steps per second to reduce the impact on your joints, thinking about a short, quick stride.

  3. Run on a regular basis. Running 4-5 times a week for shorter distances as opposed to one long run per week, will help your body build muscle memory.

  4. Strengthen your weakness and reduce muscle imbalance.  A physiotherapist is trained to assess muscle strength and balance and prescribe a home exercise program to help.

  5. Change and vary running surfaces. This will reduce the risk of overuse stresses on your body.

  6. Stretch. Maintain mobility and prevent stiffness with gentle stretching, holding stretches for 30 seconds and up to 3 repetitions. Consider joining a yoga class.

  7. Stay motivated! Set realistic goals and join running club!

If you are looking for a training goal, consider running Golden’s local trail running race in September called the Golden Ultra, which has options of running between 3 to 60 km. Personally, I will be running the full 3 days course, and will be raising money for The Branch Out Foundation, which is funding complementary and alternative neuroscience research to help neurological disorder treatments. Here is my pledge page if you would like to support!

If you are looking for a running group to keep your motivation up, Higher Ground has already started running courses with Magi Scallion, with a second one starting in May. Check it out here for more information. Beginning in June, we will start the second season of the free Element Therapeutics running club. Join me once a week to discover the trails and enjoyment of running with a group. More details to come.

Written by Marie-Michelle Lafontaine, physiotherapist

Photo credit: Bruno Long Photography