Running, wow that seems so easy, doesn’t sound that complicated, not really expensive and seems somewhat fun. These are thoughts that I had when I first began running. What I didn’t know that running is hard in some aspects, can be complicated and can get very expensive. So why did I start running? I actually decided one day that I wanted to try this running thing. I didn’t have no formal training just said to myself I see other women running all of the time; I can do this too. I first started off by walking and jogging. As I progressed, I was introduced to a group called Black Girls Run. I realized that their were other women out there just like me who were trying to accomplish the same goal. By this time I was really intrigued and really went full force into training. I was very lucky because I had guidance by others, friends and acquaintances who taught me that running a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon is not all about just running. You must train your body properly to really reep the benefits.
As an athletic trainer I am often asked about how do you prevent yourself from getting injuries. Well, there are certain things we can watch off for and then there are other things that we just may not be able to completely stop ourselves from getting an injury. In this blog, my focus is not to say that you will NOT sustain an injury at all in your lifetime but there are measures that you an do to help prevent yourself from getting an injury. Here are list of helpful questions that you can ask yourself during your running journey to help you prevent injuries. These are a just a couple of helpful tools there are many other actions, steps that you can take to help prevent injuries. I will just discuss some areas.’
Are you really ready to run?
Often we get really excited about starting a new adventure in our life that we go straight into it without really knowing whether we are ready to do that adventure. Do you have the proper attire? The proper shoes? Imagine someone who really wants to swim in a triathlon or become an elite swimmer they need to make sure they are prepared to swim by having the proper essentials to be able to perform. What do you mean Felicia? One thing that helps many runners prevent injuries from occurring is making sure they get a gait analysis. What is a gait analysis? Gait analysis is where you are analyzed on how you walk and run. This can be done at most running stores and also can be done by a certified athletic trainer or physical therapist. What the professional is looking is to see if you have any abnormalities on one side versus the other side. Why is this important? This is important because based on your gait analysis will determine what type of shoe you will need to help prevent you from injuries and also help avoid any type of discomfort while you are running.
Have you received proper training?
Once you have the proper attire and materials needed for running now you need to make sure you have proper training on running. Many people can just go outside right now and start running but how is their form? Are they running correctly? Are they hunched over? Are they gripping their hands or running with their arms swaying all over the place? Proper training is crucial in preventing injuries. This is whether you are just beginning or you are intermediate wanting to complete a marathon or ultra. Is your running form correct? Running form is so crucial in preventing injuries, when you place too much stress in one area and you are not distributing the stress throughout your body you can cause injury to occur.
How is your strength?
This is one area that many individuals don’t think about until it is too late? Strength is very important. As you begin to exercise more or run more your muscles begin to adapt to the stress. As your muscles begins to strengthen this helps you perform better but often times runners believe that just running will help keep their body and legs strong. The other misconception is that you should only strengthen your lower body. Running helps to get your muscles adapting to the stress of running but often times as you increase stress if your muscles are not strong to adapt then they begin to break down which causes injuries. It is vital that you strengthen up areas that are weak to help avoid injuries from occurring. Key areas that runners should focus on are hips, legs, core and upper body.
Are you overtraining?
Often times we get really excited when we are training for our first 5k or half marathon or marathon, we also get so embodied by the time goal we have or the PR that we want to receive that we go above and beyond our training. As I stated earlier in this blog about when your muscles are going through the same amount of stress repeatedly it increases the strength of that muscle. Well the opposite can occur too. If you place too much stress on the same muscles then it can cause damage resulting in a pulled muscle or strained muscle. Three key words I remember as I am training to make sure I don’t overtrain: REST, RECOVER, STRETCH. These are key words that need to be involved into your training to avoid injuries.
Here is a quick review of everything and also a key tip to help you figure out if you are predisposed to an injury.