Running Injuries

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to running injuries. Not because I am injured, but because my shoes are getting a bit long in the tooth and I will need to replace them soon to help starve off any injury. The last time I let my shoes go to long I ended up with a slightly injured ankle that took about a month to fully heal.

I did some looking around on the net for avoiding running injuries and the best one I found was at Hal Higdon’s site. His tips for healthy running include:

1. Obtain proper equipment: Few sports cost as little as running. Our main item of equipment is a pair of running shoes, costing less than $100 for most people. Fashionable clothing and fancy watches definitely are icing on the cake. Don’t scrimp on footwear. Acquire shoes that are appropriate for your biomechanics. And when the shoes begin to show wear, throw them away. Most running injuries can be traced to the point where the shoe touches the ground.

2. Train Intelligently: Don’t just stumble from one workout to another, not knowing what you plan to run tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year. Set goals, but give yourself time to meet those goals. If you don’t have a coach, there are many training resources online: both schedules and answers to your questions.

3. Find your red line: Through trial and error determine the point (usually miles run) at which point you become overtrained and/or get injured. Then back your training down to a point below that red line. Sometimes you can nudge this point upward by pushing on it gently, but everyone has a red line beyond which they get hurt. Find yours!

4. Never get out of shape: This is the simplest secret for avoiding injury: Keep running. Maintaining a solid base level of fitness means that when you want to increase your training to achieve a specific goal, such as a marathon, you don’t need to push too hard or too fast. Mileage increases should be made gradually.

5. Keep a diary: You don’t need to record every workout in detail, but record trends, so that if you do get hurt you can look back and figure out why. Mileage trends are important, but so are activities around running. If you got hurt in a race, maybe it was because you jumped out of a car after a four-hour drive just before competing.

6. Utilize professionals: If injured and several days rest doesn’t result in a miracle cure, seek medical intervention. The runner’s best friend is often a podiatrist, but other sportsmedicine experts from orthopods to chiropractors to physical and massage therapists also offer healing hands.

I think this is a pretty simple, yet totally effective list that sums up pretty much all a runner needs to do to HELP from getting injured. I think that any runner who trains seriously will have their share of injuries during the course of their running lifetime. Perhaps these tips will keep those injuries minor instead of major.