Top 10 injury prevention tips

Distance runners are always pushing the boundaries. More mileage, more weekly runs, faster reps, more ab work and ultimately faster Personal Best times. Injury is one of those nasty facts of being a dedicated distance runner. Regardless of your level and speed, we are all subject to injury at some point. Common distance runners injuries may include shin splints, stress fractures, patellofemoral knee pain, plantar fasciitis and soft tissue tears.

Here are a few basic tips that may help prevent injuries occurring in the first place.

10. Take it step by step - Regular, consistent training is the best way to keep getting better. Try and keep a slow and steady approach to your improvement.

9. Use the 10% rule - This relates to things like weekly mileage, weekly long runs etc. Only increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week.

8. Let your body adapt - If you run for three weeks in a row by increasing your mileage each week, back off for a week and let your body adapt.

7. Change your shoes - Sure shoes vary, but they all wear out. Some shoes will last for a long time before they are considered worn out, taking in factors such as your gait and weight. Chances are, if your shoes start to feel like they are not giving you much support, it is time to upgrade.

6. Rotate your shoes - If you can, try and have a stockpile of sorts, so you do not wear the same shoes two runs in a row. Believe it or not, the EVA in the inner sole of your shoe can "rebound" if you give it time. And incidentaslly, by rotating them, you can get more life out of your shoes.

5. Get a rub - Massage is a great injury prevention method. While not everyone can afford the time or money to get one, even one a month can be great to lower your injury risk. If you have health insurance, you will be surprised how cheap you can actually get a massage for. It is also a nice reward for all the hard work you put in!

4. Add ice - Ice is your best friend for soft tissue injuries. If you slightly hurt a muscle, or rolled an ankle on a trail, put some ice on it as soon as you can.

3. Take an ice bath - Are you feeling absolutely knackered after a hard run? Pop a bag or two of ice in your bath and jump in for ten minutes when you get home. Sure the pain is intense, but you will love the effect afterwards and will have a great nights sleep afterwards.

2. Run on soft - Use soft surfaces to run on. Keep to the grass and dirt whenever possible and limit the use of running on roads, concrete or track.

1. Listen to your body - If you feel a touch tender somewhere and know you are on the knifes edge, do not be afraid to rest the body up for a day or two, instead of heading out for that next long run.

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