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Running Injuries – Help Prevent Them This Year

Stew Smith, CSCS

Every year after a few months of decreased running due to winter months, I receive emails from people who are starting to ache after only a few days of running. Typically, if you take off for more than 2-3 months from a regular running routine, chances are when you start again you will start off “where you left off” and actually over-train. Basically, you are running too far, too soon. It takes time to build up to a rigorous amount of running (4-6 miles day – 4-5 times a week), even if you used to run this far in the Fall of last year.

There is a link I refer many people to who complain of leg injuries. I have had many of these injuries, BUT since I am not a doctor, I like for people to be better informed through the information prepared by Dr. Steven Pribut, a doctor who enjoys running and has a site designed to help describe, prevent, and self-treat the most common running injuries. Click the links below to see what Dr. Pribut has to say about running and injury prevention. The types of injures most common to new runners and I receive questions on are the following:

Shin Spints

Heel Injuries – Plantar Fasciitis

ITB Syndrome

Runner’s Knee

Achilles Tendonitis

If you are an avid runner, chances are you have experienced at least one of these injuries. In fact, according to Runner’s World, over 50% of all runners get injured every year.

Now, in the spring, after a winter layoff, OR if you are wishing to start running for the first time, I would recommend the following “step up program”.

1. Stretch for a week first to loosen up stiff joints and connective tissue.

2. Choose non-impact aerobic activity like biking, elliptical gliding, rowing or swimming to do when injuries are first felt. It is never a bad idea to cross-train in any of these activities every other day in place a running.

3. Warm up properly and then stretch. Run nice and easy for about 5-10 minutes then stretch once you are warm and the muscles and joints a more pliable. Never stretch “cold”. See stretches listed on the free Six Week Running Program page.

4. Replace running shoes often. I go through shoes about every 2-3 months and ONLY run in my running shoes. Do not walk in your running shoes since you walk differently than you run. You do get what you pay for too. There are a number of types of shoes out there that range from $80-$120 for the better brands, however, you can save $20-30 by going online at retailers such as Body’n’Sole Sports – this site also has information of gait analysis and the importance of orthotics (shoe inserts) to help prevent injuries.

I hope these links can help you prevent some of the common injuries, however, it is always recommended to see a doctor if you are in pain. Two of the running rules I use is: “If it hurts to run – stop running” and “If it hurts to walk – DO NOT run and go to a doctor.”

Thanks for sending those emails – I try to answer them all at stew@stewsmith.com. Check out the PoliceLink Fitness Store for ideas on running and training programs for military and law enforcement as well as weight loss / fitness plans.


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