Monday, April 1, 2013

Running Injury Free

People are always asking how someone can run long distances and minimize injuries.  Well there are several things to consider when starting to run.
First, you must remember to run at YOUR pace.  What that means is to run within your current skill and fitness level.  Run at a comfortable pace without panting or pain.  There may be some discomfort but if you feel intense pain then stop.  Use interval walks with your runs, i.e. run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.  Work up to 3/1 and so one.  I consistently walk for 1 minute for every mile I run, even in long races.  Going from 0 miles to 3 or 5 miles in a very short window will lead to pain and eventually injury.  The trick is to go slow and just work up your speed and endurance.

For me, it took 6 months to run a solid 6 miles; it took another 6 months to go 12!  Keep in mind I started 60 lbs. overweight.  I did all this injury free with the exception of a small setback with my heal early one.  Outside of that, over the last 2 years I have not had any significant injuries and I run at least 3 days a week.  I do have the occasional pain and soreness, everyone will have that.
Cross training will help reduce your chances of injury.  If running is your main activity, then using cycling, elliptical machines, swimming or any other activity that keeps your heart rate elevated.  By using different muscles and keeping the heart rate elevated you can received the same aerobic health benefits of running without overuse injuries which tend to occur when doing one activity for more than 3-4 days a week.

Second, the better you eat, the better you will recover and the quicker you can ramp up your distance and times.  Adding high intensity training, running or any other physical stress will make your body weaker if you do not provide the nutrition it needs for recovery properly.
Lastly, unless you are working out (running, walking, biking etc.) for longer than 1 ½ hours, then do not worry about nutritional aides or sports drinks while you are working out.  Water will be just fine!

You can see my previous blog post about why Sports Drinks are bad for you.
Currently I am logging 20-30 miles a week and going to the gym 4-5 days a week.  The key is to get there at your own pace, have fun, and use a variety of activities.

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