When doing any sort of sports, athletes and hobbyists alike are prone to injuries, whether due to exposure or bad technique, or other factors. Sports and athletic activities put a strain on the body and it is up to the practitioner to minimize the damage and remove it altogether, especially the negative kind (muscle fatigue is basically microscopic tearing which the body heals with more tissue, making the muscles stronger).
Athletes who practice running can get injured in many ways. In order to minimize and avoid injuries, here are a couple of things to consider.
Start Slowly – It is Not a Sprint
Even when practicing sprinting, you shouldn’t do it like your life depends on it. If you are new to the world of running, taking things slowly so that your muscles and especially, your ankles and knees, can adapt, is crucial.
More often than not, if one is overweight, doing strength exercises in the gym is a better way of preparing for running than running itself. In a controlled environment, exercising the right muscles needed for running is recommended, meaning the entire body with a focus on the legs and the core.
Choose the Right Surface
Running can be difficult if you start off on the wrong surface. Starting with concrete and having more impact on your ankles and knees can lead to injuries. Starting with a rubber track like you would find on most stadiums is recommended. If that is not available, then a dirt road should suffice.
Given that one wants to endure in this type of sport, it is advisable to go from a softer surface towards a tougher one. Have in mind that changing surfaces will most likely challenge your muscles unless it is something done regularly.
Warming Up – An Essential Part of Every Exercise
Without warming up, your body is presented with a load that it is not ready for. It can lead to increased fatigue and in the worst-case scenario, muscle tears. A muscle tear takes time to heal, time which could otherwise be spent on working out.
Proper warm-ups are recommended in every sport, especially if a dynamic activity follows. Running, depending on the type can be very dynamic, like sprinting, and with a lot less intensity, slow-tempo jogging.
Cooling Off – Stretching
Having your muscles and tendons relax after a long run is essential. You might not do it immediately after a run, but it is recommended to do it a least three times per week, for at least half an hour, depending on the type of stretching you do.
Static stretching is the most often type and for keeping your muscles flexible enough, it is essential. A flexible muscle is less likely to tear and be injured from any sudden movements, like a drop, jump, or slip.
Proper Recovery – Plan Your Schedule
Running can be done daily, but your runs should not be very intensive if that is the case. Your body needs time to recover. A marathon takes about five to ten days of recovery, depending on your level of preparation.
Have in mind that muscles are not the only things that are under strain when you run, but also your cardiovascular and nervous systems. A good schedule should keep you from overtraining or under-recovering.
With these tips, your running should be healthier, now and in thirty years.