It is that time of the year again when us “Minnesotans” begin to slowly increase our outdoor activities as the warmer weather approaches. Whether you have been running all winter long or hoping to start a running program, injuries are a common occurrence. Some resources have reported that the annual injury rate for runners is as high as 66%. What can we do about this?
These tips are widespread in who they can help. We recommend these to folks who are dealing with chronic aches and pain related to running. Also, to those are looking to begin a running program in hopes to prevent injury from occurring.
First, try to mix up your form of exercise. Every runner can benefit from a strengthening program performed 1-3 times a week. Our favorite strengthening exercises for runners include lunges, squats, and deadlifts. These exercises should be performed with heavier weights at 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps. Building strength in your legs will significantly reduce your risk of running related injury.
Second, run lower and increase your cadence. In other words, “keep your body as low to the ground as possible without slouching to reduce bouncing when running.” Then, “increase the number of times your foot hits the ground by 10%.” Recent studies have found that the application of these two parameters can reduce the amount of force absorbed to your feet and legs while you run. Why is that important? Reduced force at our joints = Reduced injury rate.
Third, follow the 10% rule. Studies have shown that when we keep weekly running progressions around 10% our risk for injury significantly reduces. Here is what this means. Let’s say last week I ran 1 mile on Monday, 2 miles on Wednesday, and 1 mile on Friday for a total of 4 miles. This week I should only be progressing by 10% of those 4 miles (0.4 miles). I will have an extra 0.4 mile I can add somewhere into my training program. This 10% rule can also be applied to running time and running pace.
Have more questions about running? Have you been dealing with pain while running that doesn’t seem to get better with rest, ice, stretching, etc.? Need help getting started with a running program? If you would like to talk to one of our therapists more about this click below