Running has a reputation for being a high impact activity that can cause significant stress on the body. The risk of an overuse injury especially applies to those athletes preparing for longer distance events. Becoming more conscious in the training approach and taking certain preventative measures can assist with minimizing this risk.
Here are a few tips to consider when your runners’ high takes over:
Increase mileage gradually:
Amateur athletes are often overwhelmed by the distance. As an attempt to put their mind at ease before the big day, many will start running high mileage in training, months before their body is prepared to handle a lot of volume. Although this level of will and ambition is quite admirable, this strategy may lead to more harm than benefit.
Whether you’re a newbie, or are returning to your long-lost love for running, a slow progression will be the key to a successful season. To absorb the workload safely, you want to make certain the distance or intensity does not increase by more than 5-10% from one week to the next. For example, if the long run in week eight of a training plan was 10 miles, then in week nine it should not surpass 11 miles.
Hydrate ahead of time:
Unless you’re a sleep walker on a mission to keep your H2O levels in check throughout the night, chances are you will have fasted for at least 6 to 8 hours prior to waking up. This usually means that you’ll be in a slightly dehydrated state first thing in the morning. Even if you have a quick sip before heading out, this deficit is difficult to recover from, putting an additional stress on the body during your morning run.
Keep a glass of water within reach of your bed so that you can sip on throughout the night and another instantly upon waking up. Take in 6-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes of running, plus an additional 20-24 ounces within two hours of completing your workout.
Don’t just wait for your soreness to go away:
Running is a repetitive motion. Stressing the same muscle without much variation can cause uninvited soreness. A good way to reduce it is a simple rest and a full night’s sleep, but there are other helpful ways to enhance recovery:
- Foam rolling to release tension and buffer out lactic acid buildup.
- Taking a yoga class to help improve flexibility and increase range of motion.
- Going for a bike ride to circulate the blood without the added impact.
- Swimming laps to balance out strength deficiency and increase lung capacity.