5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury

We’ve all been there in one way or another. We took a wrong step, pushed it too far, went out too hard, or our bodies simply didn’t cooperate on that run. Running injuries happen for a myriad of reasons and they can happen to any runner at any level.

What Causes Running Injuries?

Every person, situation, and injury is different. Sometimes that twisted ankle couldn’t be avoided because the sidewalk really did jump up and get you! However, many running injuries can be avoided by properly warming up and cooling down, stretching, and utilizing proper running form. Missing any one of these crucial aspects can lead to an unwelcome injury.

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury - Running Injuries

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury – Running Injuries

Related article: 3 Exercises To Help You Achieve (Near) Perfect Running Form

But sometimes, just like that forsaken sidewalk, injuries happen even with our best efforts and best foot put forward. Here are 5 rules for runners recovering from an injury.

Proper Diagnosis Of Running Injuries

A twisted ankle, unbearably chaffed thigh or bruised ego can often be quickly and accurately self-diagnosed. If you’re a seasoned runner, you may even be able to immediately recognize shin splints or stress fractures.

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury - Running Injuries

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury – Running Injuries

Even so, the best thing to do after experiencing a running injury is to immediately seek diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. They can take the guesswork out of exactly what caused the injury, what it is, and what steps (whether rest and/or physical therapy) are needed to make a full recovery.

Take Time To Heal

Worrying about lost mileage, the time it will take to get back in shape, or how much an injury will set you back will not help you. In fact, dwelling on worries like these can lead to further injury! Many injuries are exacerbated by those who are so focused on lost time that they jump the gun and return to running before their bodies are ready.

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury - Running Injuries

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury – Running Injuries

Without the appropriate time to heal, you can very easily aggravate the injury. This will add more time to the healing process. It is also possible to injure other parts of your body. When proper running form is compromised due to an injury in one part of your body, it can lead to injury in other parts of your body.

Long story short, taking time to heal will save you time in the long run.

Take It Slow

When you’ve finally received the “a-okay” to get moving again, it’s very important to take it slow. While you’re brain is ready to get moving, your muscles and the rest of your body will need a little bit of time to get up to speed (and distance) again!

Incorporating different cross training, strengthening exercises, and stretches (especially those targeting the injured area) may help with your transition from the bench to the pavement!

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury - Running Injuries

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury – Running Injuries

Pay Attention to Your Body and Running Form

Pay attention, now more than ever, to how your body is feeling and to your form while running. Pay particular attention to the area of the injury, it may still be weak, feel sore or fatigued. Remember to give it the time it needs and take things slowly.

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury - Running Injuries

5 Rules For Runners Recovering From an Injury – Running Injuries

In addition to this, often other parts of your body will try to compensate for the weakened area. This can result in fatigue, poor running form, and further injury. Paying attention to your entire body and focusing on proper running form, may help avoid further running injuries.

Prevent Future Running Injuries With Proper Training and Running Form

Now that you’re moving again, even if you’re just starting, take time to prevent future running injuries by staying active during your day (movement is very important for a healthy body), maintaining a healthy diet, utilizing proper posture and running form; integrating strength and cross training; and stretching regularly. Doing these things will ensure that your body is strong, primed, and ready to go!

Related Article: 6 Resistance Band Exercises to Prevent Running Injuries

 

 

3 Exercises To Help You Achieve (Near) Perfect Running Form

Good running form helps prevent injuries from occurring. The body is made a certain way. Good posture often refers to the sitting or standing form where the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are under the least amount of strain. The same thing goes for running form. Improper technique can stress the joints and muscles, eventually causing pain and injury. Thus, it is of utmost importance to maintain good form, especially on those long runs!

There are exercises that can be done off the track that can strengthen and prepare your body to maintain good form when running. They can make you more aware of your body. They can further make your running form more efficient. Why strain muscles or overwork muscles that you don’t have to? Completing the following 3 exercises, 3 times a week may help you achieve near perfect running form.

The Seated Row

Why include an exercise for the upper body? Often runners neglect upper body exercises and opt for leg strengthening workouts. It, of course, makes sense. Strengthening and stretching of the hips and legs are important to creating a more efficient stride. However, many runners forget that good posture throughout a run is just as important. The seated row works the middle and lower trapezius muscles strengthening, often neglected, postural muscles. It keeps your spine aligned properly and prevents that improper forward hunch and forward head posture.

How To:

  1. Sit on the mat, with your legs straight in front.
  2. Wrap a resistance band around the bottoms of your feet. Hold the ends of the band in each hand with your arms straight to start.
  3. Slowly bend the elbows back along the sides of your body.
  4. At the same time, gently pinch the shoulder blades down and in.
  5. Slowly return to start and repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Do not shrug the shoulders.
  • Gently contract the core to protect the low back and prevent arching of the back.
  • If sitting on the floor is difficult, sitting in a chair with the band wrapped around a post is also an option.

High Knees

The high knees drill targets the hips, glutes, and thighs, which are all major muscles used in running. Strengthening these muscles can add power and efficiency to your running form.

How To:

  1. Stand with your feet approximately hip-width apart.
  2. Bend one knee and lift it up in front of you. Your thigh should create a 90-degree angle with the trunk of your body.
  3. Lower the leg forward and alternate sides.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Maintain a straight posture by gently contracting the core.
  • The high knee exercise can be done as a separate exercise or as a warm up prior to other exercises.

 

Chin Tucks

This exercise goes hand in hand with the seated row in preventing incorrect forward hunch or forward head posture. Chin tucks target the deep neck flexor muscles in the front of the neck. They help keep the head in line with the rest of the spine.

How To:

  1. Lie face up on a bed or mat.
  2. Without lifting the head off the mat or bed, gently nod your head.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks

  • A rolled towel can be placed behind the neck for support.
  • The muscles on the side of your neck, such as the sternocleidomastoid, should be relaxed throughout the exercise.

Exercises that support good running form may prevent future injuries from occurring.  Injuries can disrupt training and put your running goals on the back burner. The 3 exercises described above may aid in improving your running form and even your posture in day-to-day activities. Remember, your work off the track is just as important as your work on the track!

5 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Proper Running Form

Strength training is an important aspect to include in your regular workout routine. As a runner, many believe the more running the better. However, regular strength training is significant in injury prevention. Balance is key. Strengthening the muscles involved in running can support joints prone to injury from overuse. Incorporating 2-3 strengthening days a week to coincide with 2-3 running days is an effective and efficient way to improve your running form and reduce the risk of injury.

3 Injuries That Could Be Causing Your Hip Flexor Pain

Hip flexor pain is often an injury that is hard to ignore. Our hip flexors, which lie at the front of the hip, are used in just about every movement that involves the lower half of the body. When you have hip flexor pain you feel it anytime you bend, kick, sit, run, or change directions while moving.

Typically, there are three types of injuries which result in pain to this area of the body: overuse injuries, muscle tears, and direct hits. If you are feeling hip flexor pain, consider the likelihood that one of these reasons may be the cause.

How To Integrate Cross-Training Into Your Running Workouts

You’ve likely heard about the importance of cross-training. Greater speed, improved endurance, and reduced risk of injury are some of the frequently-touted benefits of adding cross-training into your running workouts.

But it can be overwhelming to decide which cross-training activity to add to your existing running workouts. Then there’s the time factor – between running, work, family, and friends, it can be a challenge to do it all.

Fortunately, there are a few forms of cross-training that provide maximum results with minimal time. The following activities, when strategically added to existing running workouts, will help you get stronger, improve your speed, and reduce your risk of getting injured.

Gait Retraining: 4 Red Flags to Look Out For In Your Running Form

Contributed Piece By: Dr. Rebecca Shultz, PhD in Biomechanics 

Gait training is the clinical term for learning to walk or run. Gait retraining then is learning to walk or run again. This relearning may need to occur after an injury and after an assessment that found a red flag that may predispose a runner to injury or reduce a runner’s performance.

How to Improve your Running form to Avoid Injury

Instead of concentrating on the mind-boggling and exhausting technicalities to avoid running injuries & improve running form, adhere to these basic, actionable, and, easy-to-implement running tricks. Not only will improving your running form drastically cut your risk of running Injuries, however, you’ll likewise enjoy it progressively and likely get much faster.

The Best Way to Prevent Painful Shin Splints Before they Start (Hint: It Could be Your Running Form)

Shin splints oftentimes sideline even many seasoned runners and can be among the most nagging of running injuries.  Also, medically-classified as “tibial stress syndrome”, an athlete’s running form is one key mechanics indicator to predict their susceptibility to acquiring shin splints.  When they occur, shin splints may target the limb’s “interior” region; the front part just below the knee.  Or, the pain may be “posterior” in nature, causing discomfort along the leg’s inside edge.

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