August is here and high school runners everywhere are gearing up for another cross country season. And with the Twin Cities Marathon just around in the corner in October, now is a great time for all runners to be thinking about injury prevention. As Physical Therapist and All- American Runner at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, I have experienced and treated a variety of running injuries. Here are some of my favorite tips to prevent running injuries:
Tip#1: Follow “The 10% Rule”
Many experts advise increasing your mileage by no more than 10% each week. In addition, I would recommend only increasing your total weekly running mileage every two weeks. For example, if your weekly manageable mileage is 20 miles your would only increase your weekly mileage to 22 miles in 2 weeks.
By far the leading factor related to running injuries is training errors. All too often high school athletes undertrain in the summer only to jump into the grueling two a day practices at the start of cross country season. This is a recipe for an injury! Runners should start with a manageable weekly mileage and gradually increase and the 10% rule is a good guideline for this.
Tip #2: Avoid Improper/Old Shoewear
You should be getting a new pair of running shoes at least every 500 miles or every 3-4 months, whichever comes first. My favorite shoe brands are Asics, New Balance, and Brooks. Not sure what shoe is right for you? I recommend seeing the running shoe experts at Run N Fun.
Tip #3: Don’t Skip Warm Up/ Cool Down
A warm-up is essential to prepare your muscles, tendons, and ligaments for the demands of running. Consider 5 minutes of alternating walking/ slow jogging to start your run or a dynamic stretching routine. After demanding runs, consider a 5-minute slow jog followed by traditional static stretching to improve flexibility and decrease muscle soreness.
Hopefully adhering to these tips drastically reduces your incidence of running injuries. If you do have an injury and are not sure what to do. Give us a call at 651-275-4706 for a free phone consultation. If needed, we will schedule you with one of our running experts at OSI Physical Therapy that will evaluate you for muscle imbalances and perform a video running analysis which will provide valuable insight to you and the therapist in developing effective interventions to treat your injury.