4 Bulletproof Ways to Prevent Running Injuries

by A Manly Guest Contributor on January 3, 2014 · 43 comments

in Fitness, Health & Sports

run

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jason Fitzgerald.

The percentage of runners that get hurt every year is staggering. Some studies even put that number at an eyebrow-raising 74% — or in other words, higher than professional football.

Browse any running message board and the most passionate posts are cries for help from frustrated runners with their latest overuse injury. Ask a veteran of the sport about their injury history and they’ll likely rattle off a laundry list of every conceivable malady possible:

  • IT band syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Compartment syndrome

This begs the question: why are runners so good at getting hurt? If we have evolved to run (as many have suggested), then why is the injury rate so alarmingly high? Can you imagine a deer straining its hamstring galloping through the woods? Or a shark getting tendinitis in its fin from hunting a seal?

Of course not! It’s outrageous to even think about. Yet it happens to humans when we run relatively pedestrian distances at comfortable paces.

The answer, it seems, is a combination of how we run and the effects of our modern lifestyle. When you adjust for these issues and correct your training, you’ll dramatically reduce your injury rate.

I learned this the hard way. For nearly seven years, my training was constantly interrupted by plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, and chronic Achilles tendinopathy that prevented me from running to my potential. It was frustrating. I didn’t know what to do.

But once I did enough research and learned through trial and error, I was able to escape my own personal injury cycle. After just six months of healthy running, I made my college’s varsity cross country team and ran an enormous personal best over 8 kilometers (about 5 miles). And since 2009, I haven’t had a single major injury. With so much healthy running, I’ve been able to run more than ever and improve my marathon to 2:39:32 at the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon (Boston 2014, I’m coming for you!).

The training consistency that comes with injury-free running is the most powerful way to become a better runner. Once you crack the code of pain-free running, you’ll be able to run faster, build your consistency, and finally reach your potential.

Just imagine what you could accomplish if you stayed healthy for a full year (or more). The results can be incredible.

Today let’s look at some running “best practices” so that you can implement smarter training. I know if you put this coaching advice into practice, you’ll see dramatic results.

Runners Need to be Strong

A common misconception is that distance runners don’t need strength training. After all, the upper body isn’t used at all and running works the legs…right? Wrong. 

If you don’t complete regular strength work, you’re on the fast track to injury. While the entire topic of “injury prevention” includes much more than just strength exercises, it’s a big part of the puzzle. Most runners that can’t string together a few months of consistent training because of chronic injuries don’t do any strength work.

An analogy that’s useful here is comparing a car’s engine and its chassis. What would happen if you put a Lamborghini engine into a Geo Prizm frame? That powerful engine would tear the chassis apart — it’s just too powerful.

The same thing will happen if your aerobic fitness outpaces your structural ability to withstand the stress of running long and fast. Your cardiovascular system might be up to the task of running 10 miles, but can your muscles, tendons, and ligaments hold up? You better be strong!

Injury prevention is but one reason to start regular strength exercises. It will also help you become a more efficient runner so you lose less energy and ultimately run faster.

A couple classic weight exercises are the most helpful for runners: dead lifts and squats. These compound, multi-joint movements build strength while also activating the stabilizing muscles. Core workouts (like this one) are also helpful and should be done on days you’re not in the gym. More advanced runners — or those looking for a challenge — can do single-leg exercises that build even more stability, balance, and proprioception (spacial awareness of your body). After all, running is simply a series of very coordinated hops from one foot to the other.

In terms of scheduling, two days a week in the gym working on squats, dead lifts, and single-leg exercises (in addition to upper-body exercises like pull ups, bench press, military press, etc.) is all you need. But after each run it’s most beneficial to do at least 10 minutes of basic bodyweight work like the core routine mentioned above.

Many of the chronic aches and pains runners experience are the result of no strength work and can be easily avoided (or at least minimized) by exercising more muscles than just the heart.

Respect the Recovery Process

Mention the term “recovery” and most runners think of ice baths, compression socks, and trigger point massage. And while these tools can be helpful to facilitate recovery, they’re just ways to manage existing damage. They’re not the most effective ways to enhance recovery because they’re reactive.

Proactive recovery methods are much more helpful — they ensure you don’t have too much damage in the first place. Remember that every hard workout you do is a stress that initially damages your body. Only when you recover and adapt do you truly become a stronger, faster, and more resilient runner.

You can see this at work in the Stress-Adaptation Cycle:

stress adaptation

Instead of relying on your foam roller and an occasional ice bath, proactive recovery works within this cycle and ensures you only do workouts that are appropriate to your fitness level.

Reading about elite athlete’s workouts in running magazines is fun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should copy them! Every fast workout that you run should be achievable, realistic, and within your abilities. “Stretch workouts” that leave you sore for days spike your injury risk and compromise the recovery process. If you run too hard or too long your body will have difficulty recovering from and adapting to the workout.

Even if you are running workouts that are appropriate to your fitness level, you may find that on some days, you just don’t have it. So do you press on and attempt to complete the workout if you’re feeling overly sore, exhausted, or have a niggling pain? Of course not!

Flexibility to modify a workout (what I like to call a “Plan B Workout,” or an easier version of the run you had planned), cut it short, or even take the entire day off is critical to staying healthy. No matter how well your training program is written, you’ll need to alter some workouts on the fly.

To determine if you shouldn’t run or take an easier day, follow these three simple rules:

  • If you’re experiencing a sharp or stabbing pain, you shouldn’t run at all. That kind of pain means you’re doing additional damage.
  • If you have a moderate amount of dull or achy soreness, you can run but it’s best to make your planned run easier.
  • If the level of soreness is light or you’re just experiencing general fatigue, press on with your planned workout.

After all, the best workout for you today is just what your body needs. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what’s written on your plan.

Is Your Running Boring?

You can imagine that as a full-time coach, I write a lot of custom training plans for runners training for races as varied as military fitness tests, obstacle races, ultramarathons, and standard road race distances of 5k to the marathon. And after reviewing the training of almost a thousand runners, I’ve noticed a clear pattern: most people’s running is so boring.

They do the same distances, at the same paces, in the same shoes, on the same route, while training for the same race. They do the same static stretches all the time and keep their race goals the same from year to year.

With that kind of repetition, no wonder why repetitive overuse injuries are so common!

Variation is a critical element in my training philosophy. While a structured approach to training yields the best race results, variation is often in the details — small changes to paces, running surface and terrain, elevation, shoe rotations, and types of workouts are all critical to reducing the repetitive stress of running.

You’ve probably met the runner who is perpetually training for a marathon. Two or three times a year they run 26.2 miles but always seem to run the same finish times (and are often injured). The problem of course is a lack of training variety — if you’re always running marathon workouts, you’re neglecting other types of valuable workouts and subjecting your body to a very similar type of stress week after week.

To introduce more variety into your training and reduce the repetitive nature of running follow these steps:

  • Rotate two or more pairs of shoes to subtly alter your biomechanics and the stress experienced by your feet and lower legs (more on this below).
  • Run workouts that include paces of max effort sprinting to very easy, comfortable runs.
  • Incorporate a strength routine that includes a variety of exercises to correct imbalances.
  • Get off the roads and sidewalk to run trails and more hills.

These changes to your training program may seem insignificant, but over time they alter how stress is applied to your body. Your biomechanics are very different at full speed than they are at your 5k pace and even your very easy pace. Stride angle, foot strike, and range of motion are just three examples of what changes as you run faster.

You also run differently in cushioned running shoes than you do in more minimalist shoes. Some shoes have a higher heel, a firmer sole, and more support. Rotating a more minimalist shoe can help you build more strength and alter the way your foot interacts with the ground. But just like interval workouts or long runs, minimalist shoes are a training tool to accomplish a specific goal (foot strength and reinforcing proper running form). You don’t have to rely on them for all your workouts.

Hills, uneven terrain, and technical trails modify your stride pattern as well (in addition to providing a softer surface with less impact force). Dodging debris and moving over elevation changes reduces the repetitive nature of running that you’d normally experience on the roads.

Put together, these training changes help reduce repetition and improve your ability to run longer with fewer injuries.

Do You Know How to Run?

Most runners never learn how to run. They’re not taught how to execute proper form. And that’s a shame because running is not a basic movement — it’s a highly technical series of coordinated steps (or hops, actually).

Before I start, this is important: if you’re an intermediate or advanced runner (high mileage or someone who’s been running for years), it’s not a good idea to actively change your form. Studies have shown that experienced runners who try to significantly change their running form actually decrease their running economy. That’s right — they get less efficient.

So if you’re not very prone to injuries and your form is okay, then stick with what already works.

Indeed, the best way to improve your form is to run often. Your body naturally finds its most optimal form when you run very frequently. So get out there and run tall, don’t over-stride, and keep your cadence up. Your form will largely take care of itself, but I do have some general tips for you to speed up the process:

Increase your cadence. Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute. Most expert runners think 180 steps per minute (for both feet) is the holy grail of running cadence, but there’s really no magic number.

Ideally, your cadence should be at least 170 steps per minute when you’re running at a comfortable pace. It will increase once you start running faster — that’s normal. But if you’re under 170, try increasing it by about 5% every few weeks.

Recent research has shown that a higher cadence reduces impact shock on your legs, improves running economy (or your efficiency), and reduces your injury risk.

Foot strike at the right time. New runners have a tendency to “reach” out with their feet to take a longer stride. What happens is that the foot almost always heel strikes aggressively out in front of your body. You want to avoid this at all costs!

When your foot comes down and makes contact with the ground, it should be underneath your body, rather than significantly in front of it. But many beginners focus on which part of the foot strikes instead, which is not as important as landing underneath your body. There are successful runners who strike the ground with their heel, midfoot, and forefoot — all work well! As long as your cadence is above about 170 and you’re striking the ground underneath your hips, you don’t have to worry about foot strike.

As you’re running, a good mental cue is to think that you’re just “putting your foot down” underneath your body. There’s no reaching or stretching your leg out in front of you.

Run tall. This helps improve your posture so you’re not slouching. Many runners think they need a forward lean (and this is true) but they accomplish this by leaning at the waist. Instead, the body should be in a slight forward lean from the ankles. This will happen naturally as you focus on running with a tall, straight back.

A helpful mental cue that will improve your posture is to pretend there’s a string attached to the top of your head. Imagine that someone is pulling the string straight up in the air — pulling your back straight into a more athletic posture.

Once you incorporate these changes into your running form, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and your injury risk is going to plummet.

Putting These Principles Into Action

The majority of recreational runners don’t follow these training suggestions — and they hit performance plateaus and experience chronic injuries.

But when you start preparing for your next goal race, implement regular strength work, a few running form upgrades, a conservative workout schedule that prioritizes recovery, and more training variety. Take a long-term approach and respect the process of training rather than chasing a new weekly mileage record or a workout personal record.

And I know you’ll not only stay healthy, you’ll probably race a helluva lot faster too.

_____________________________________________

Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner and USA Track & Field certified coach. Get the latest training tips at Strength Running – or sign up for two free presentations on injury prevention, misconceptions, and Q&A to help you stay healthy.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrew January 4, 2014 at 6:04 am

Amen to everything in this article! I work in a running specialty store, and it’s almost like a doctors office. The amount of people asking about various problems , to which I reply “I’m not a doctor.”

Anyway the first thing people always blame for their problems is their shoes. When one is running well, the shoes’s only job should be as a covering for the foot. Many of the health and injury management claims made by the manufacturers don’t hold up to much science. Same goes for the excessive prescription of orthotics, most don’t need them. Working on form is time consuming but hands down a better investment than a fancy shoe, and adapting slowly to a new training plan is key.

Looking to spice up your running, buy low drop or minimal shoes. It changes everything! They often last longer, so better value dollar per mile wise.

Running is primal, so reconnect with the ground, unplug from the headphones, and turn off that GPS watch. Be tuned in to the world around you.

2 Claude January 4, 2014 at 6:25 am

Great article for beginning and intermediate runners than also serves as a great reminder for those of us who have been running for years. I started strength training a year ago and it makes the recovery much faster. Also use the POSE running method to run pain free. Thanks!

3 Norbert B January 4, 2014 at 9:29 am

First and foremost you should warm up for at least 5-10 minutes, before each running (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL1dMvaIsvQ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxo9J4gfV2M). And strech after the workout (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF8x_SIPRYo). Never miss those practices.

4 Ethan Glover January 4, 2014 at 10:37 am

Five-finger shoes were a huge help to me. (Or alternatively Inov8′s). Getting rid of the cushion can help to fix your posture naturally without much thought.

5 Brian Cooper January 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

Best way to prevent running injuries is to stop running.

I don’t run from anything that I can outgun.

6 Matt E. January 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

Any breathing methods or advice to go along with the above four suggestions? I’ve read you don’t want to exhale on the same foot strike every stride.

7 Kate McKay January 4, 2014 at 11:37 am

I am far from an elite runner — slow and awkward, and only run 5k races. So take my advice for what it is worth. But I absolutely love running — truly and deeply do and I was often plagued with injuries like plantar fasciitis which kept me from it which was hugely frustrating. But I have run injury-free now for several years. I have found great success with Newton shoes — no more PF. I alternate running days with weight training days. And I do most of my runs as HIIT — sprinting all out for a minute and then walk/jogging for a minute. What’s amazing is that if you train this way, your ability to then run at a continuous steady state goes way up.

8 Brian January 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Running: the act of repeatedly falling without ever hitting the ground.

As a physical therapist, I want to add this to your strengthening part: work the gluteus medius and external hip rotators. They help stabilize both the low back and the knee.

Or don’t. My paycheck kinda depends on runners injuring themselves.

9 brian January 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Hahaha, I thought brett was running a 2:39. I was in awe until i saw it was written by “Jason Fitzgerald”

10 JD January 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I am with you brian cooper. Unless it is an all out sprint there is very little manliness surrounding running.

11 jason pheifer January 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

right on this is how i finally learnd to love running. i really recommend Chris MacDougals book Born to Run and the blog at Originalstrength.net again great article see you all on the trails

12 Nathan Myers January 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I agree on most points of this article, but it is true that animals occasionally suffer muscle/tendon/ligament injuries as a result of overuse. A more interesting story, although unrelated to overuse, is of a young buck I once encountered in the woods on a run. I startled him and a few other deer, and when they turned to flee, the poor guy jumped straight into a tree trying to leap a fence, tragically breaking his neck. It just goes to show you that animals, while certainly more capable than humans at locomotion, do suffer injuries unrelated to predators or hunting.

13 PurpleMartin January 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Thanks. Good article. I find that over the last 10 years, I’ve been doing much of what the author advises. Should probably pay more attention to varying my routines (though my standard hilly and part-trail route already provides variety), and being more mindful to ramp down routine more when a joint or muscle barks a little.

At nearly 60, I’ve been running steadily for 30 years. I like solitary early morning runs (it’s easy to slide into reveries of the past and future while padding down an empty street). I don’t like races (feel no need to finish in front of someone else) and won’t run with crowds. Most often run in the early morning at first light, partly because that usually lets me run alone.

I’m not able to run the same way I could 30 years ago but so what? After turning 50 and for the first time encountering repeated foot, ankle and calf injuries over three years, took the advice of knowledgeable sports medicine people and found I needed to limit myself to four days a week (consecutive days only once a week), no more than 20-25 miles total while being careful not to average faster than about a 9:00 mile (that’s at my 6,700’ home elevation, and 9:30 is more common). I’ve run the last four years under that regime, nearly injury free.

My little sister, the physical therapist, finally got through to me a few years ago that people my age need to do light weight training to counter the inevitable loss of muscle mass (which accelerates with age) so I’ve added a 15-20 minute dumbbell routine on two of the days I don’t run (mostly upper body and core to balance the running, just lunges and squats on lower body—but that seems to match the author’s recommendation). Not as much fun as running but takes less than an hour out of my week.

Two things in particular seem to help me (your experience may vary of course). One is running with a GPS/heart monitor and downloading results of each run into my computer. I like the motivating factor of mile-by-mile feedback, and the data tracking/analysis. I use a Garmin 305 with a program called Sporttracks—highly recommended—and have all my runs recorded on my computer with comments/grades for each. That includes runs all over the US plus Heidelberg, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Osaka, and Okinawa and it’s cool to call up the satellite views of those (OK, I know, I’m a geek).

The other is a habit I fell into because of an accident of location. My house is on a slope climbing out of a watershed. I warm up with a fast steep uphill walk, about eight minutes. Gets HR above 100 and warms/stretches muscles. My standard six mile route then climbs about 200 feet the 1st 3 miles out, and drops about 300 feet on the 3-mile return along a creek-side trail. At finish, I have another steep uphill fast-paced 5-minute cool-down walk to get back to my house. I believe the “don’t-have-to-think-about-it” warm-up and cool-down are probably significant factors in my recent low-injury history.

My limits are OK, I don’t need to prove anything, I’m not racing, not trying to rack up more and more miles, or trying to lift more and more weight. The thing is, I look forward to it (and after a couple years, OK, even the lifting, a little).

And when connecting through O’Hare I can take my luggage and stride from one end of Concourse C to my commuter gate on Concourse E without breathing hard (takes 16 minutes when you’re trying to make a short connection). Can take long hikes and climb the occasional fourteener, play actively with my very active grandchildren, walk my hilly high-altitude golf course, and reasonably plan on doing that for at least another 20 years.

14 Stephen January 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

In high school I ran cross country, winter track, and spring track. I wasn’t fantastic, but I certainly knew how to run. I’m a sophomore in college ROTC now, so I don’t run as much, but I do still run regularly. I have only gotten one running related injury, and that was a stress fracture in my foot. I attribute it to a coach that had us do “foot drills” prior to practice where we would walk in awkward types of steps that stretched our feet and ankles. I haven’t stretched in over a year and usually run at least 5 days a week. No injuries since I stopped stretching. If you’re only endurance running and not doing sprints, stretching really isn’t necessary. Only for workouts, such as sprints, surges, or intentional hills. When going for a moderate pace, anywhere from a 20 minutes and above, I strongly feel that the running itself is the stretch. I know a lot of new evidence points to “static stretching” as a hindrance to performance. Static stretching is stretching while still, such as bending down to touch your feet. Instead, while moving forward kick your toes to your hand in the air about 10 times and you’ll be good to go.
Overall, I’m not a big fan of stretching as a runner.

15 Howie January 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Great tips on running; however, “[t]his begs the question: why are runners so good at getting hurt?” should be changed to “raises the question.” Begging the question pertains to a particular type of logical fallacy: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/begs-the-question.

16 Christopher Murray January 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Running isn’t manly?

No matter how much weight lifting, push-ups, sit-ups you do, you will never get that “manly” body shape without cardio.

It doesn’t have to be running, but it does have to get your body moving and heart pumping for 30min-1hr.

Burning fat requires that your break through “the wall”; the time at which your body has exhausted it’s readily available carbs/glucose, and starts to convert fat into glucose. This happens at around 30 min depending on physical fitness and workout intensity.

17 Glenn Brown January 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm

gentle running is not only good for fittnes it is also good for mental stymulation ,especailly if the surroundings are pleasant ,i run around iron cove bay run at night around 4 nights a week and find the coolness and atmosphere second to none ,running alone gives to time to ponder your own thoughts and free of phones ,emails and other interuptions i find is a very pleasurable part of life,after a run and a shower i tend to sleep a lot more sound than normal ,try it you will be suprised in the benefits….. ps i am 47 years old and running 60 km per week with no injuries…….

18 Bert Perry January 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I am reminded of how during my senior year in high school, I ran about 30% fewer miles, substituted a 3 mile bike ride to school for morning practice, and dropped my 2 mile time by 22 seconds to 9:38. Lots of variable pace training, lots of calisthenics, lots of “bounding” drills….I’m getting back into running, just might try to remember what worked before!

Oh, yeah, and I had a lot less use for ice and aspirin that wonderful track season, too!

19 Jimmy January 5, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thank you for the article, Mr. Fitzgerald. It’s the kind of broad, foundational advice I’ve been looking for to get a good start at running. For the past couple of years, I’ve been unable to go more than a few weeks without some minor setback happening to my knee.

20 Amy January 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for this. I’m printing it off and taking it to heart. I’m 52 and, after a lifetime of running, have been plagued with ankle and knee injuries for the past year and a half. I’m going to try to come up with a smart running–weight-training routine for somebody my age, and try to get out there again. I miss running terribly!!
Thanks again!

21 Nick January 5, 2014 at 3:56 pm

The popularity of running 5ks and marathons has exploded in the past ten years. Suddenly, if you can labor on for 26 miles straight, it means you are “fit”. How many people do you know that are doing couch to 5k or taking up a marathon training program who have never run before? Running that much puts a serious toll on the body if you’re not used to it. A lot of people in the 20s and 30s now are gonna have real bad knee and back issues when they get older from this overuse. Swimming is much easier on the joints. And better for your skin.

Excellent points made in the article.

22 Zach January 6, 2014 at 7:01 am

I’ve been told that when you run, if you land on your heel it’s bad for your knees. So I tend to land on the balls of my feet so it strengthens instead of kills my knees. It really seems to help.

23 dajolt January 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

Does the cadence>170 rule also apply when you are very tall? (I’m over 6.3 feet?) Just wondering, because I’m happy with 153 in training and usually do not manage to get higher than 160 in 10k & half marathon competitions.

24 Austin January 6, 2014 at 9:07 am

Another good way to mix up your workout is to take one day from the gym and instead of doing weights go swim laps. You will notice a big difference after awhile.

25 jason January 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Thank you very much for this info as I was heading down this very route. All that you have said has rung many alarm bells.
I now think I have to re-address my training as knees have started aching because I’m trying to push too hard.
Many thanks for invaluable information.
Regards
JJ

26 James Malafronte January 7, 2014 at 1:31 am

Looking to get from 240 to 190.

27 john b. January 7, 2014 at 4:13 am

thanks for sharing these tips. running indeed needs proper techniques so every running and exercise enthusiasts can make the most of this activity and acquire great fitness results in the long run.

28 Marcie January 7, 2014 at 10:34 am

Pilates accomplishes all the recommended objectives in this article. Core strength, weight lifting, single limb work, better posture, awareness of form, all can be found in a single Pilates workout.

And it seems appropriate to mention, based on the name of this website, that the founder of Pilates (Joseph Pilates) was a beer drinking, cigar smoking boxer who developed the method on soldiers. Pretty manly if you ask me!

29 Don E. Webster January 7, 2014 at 10:45 am

I’m planning to run my first marathon with my son in Honolulu this coming December at the tender young age of 71, and I find your info “spot on” and extremely helpful, as I can already relate personally to most of your tips.
Thanks for a great article.

30 Ryan January 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Great, helpful advice. I used to run 5 miles a day, then read a (much less informed) article about adjusting my running technique. I got debilitating shin splints that took me ages to recover from. Wish I’d read this instead!

31 Jonathan Bennett January 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm

When it comes to the manliness of running, some distinction is in order. Jogging 30 minutes on the treadmill? Not very manly.

Running at a nice pace outdoors in all temperatures, braving the elements and whatever nature has to offer for several miles…That’s manly.

32 Alec January 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I didn’t read the comments, because I wanted to jump into saying this, so I’m sure its already been said.

I’m a veteran who had to run all the time, and I got pain in the knees from it (i think it was the Patellofemoral pain syndrome). The doctor put me on the table and examined my knees, she then laid me back and tried to straighten my knees and found that without me using my leg muscles to help her, she ran into resistance very quickly. My tendons in the knees were very tight and she told me all I needed to do was stretch.

Lo and behold after a month or so, I was able to run again and haven’t had issues since. Stretching is very important, especially post workout.

33 Eric January 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Too often in my experience, lack of correct stretching, which includes the warmup, is to blame. Flexibility is a critical part of running and all too often ligaments and tendons get damaged because of a lack of it.

34 John January 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm

My only running injuries have happened when I ran after letting my weightlifting program slide, so I strongly agree with the strength side of things. I think a good basic weightlifting program is probably one of the better things a person can do to prevent injuries.

I have to confess I don’t do much in the way of a warm-up when I run. I find that just starting off slow and ramping up the pace for 5 minutes is enough.

35 Zach January 15, 2014 at 12:15 am

Never Heal Strike!!!!
I agree with this whole article but the author should research the negative effects of a heal strike. The initial shock travels from the heal, up the shin, and through the knees. To avoid this, one should land on the ball of their foot.

36 Andrew S. January 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I’m a beginner runner, so maybe the solution is real easy, but does anyone have any tips on exactly how you count/track your cadence? How exactly do you determine how many steps per minute you take when you’re running? Anyone have any good tips?

37 gavtramper January 19, 2014 at 1:43 am

Its easy just run,put the shoes you have on your feet and step out the door run till you are tired then stop the next day do some more,we are made to run,I will never be fast i will never run a three hour marathon but i love it i never read about all the things i can do right or wrong i just do my thing that can mean three km in the hot sun or fifty km in the spring good luck to you all

38 Nikola Gjakovski January 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

2:39:32 is professional time that’s very good. I’m going for my 3th marathon in May and I hope to get under 3:30:00 :) Really useful article and I have question. During both of my marathons I couldn’t feel my left foot in the first 5 miles and after I’ts released, but the first five miles are killing me mentally. Any advice for May 2014?

39 Dhruv Bhagat February 3, 2014 at 8:09 am

One should not wear sneakers or casual shoes while going for a sprint or a jog..

Make sure, you carry a water bottle so that you don’t have to dehydrate yourself.

Thanks for mentioning important things :)

40 Jack February 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Cooper for the Win

41 eEvie Dawson February 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

To prevent injuries altogether, make sure your shoes fit properly. Your running shoe should be at least 1/2 a size bigger than your street shoe size. You should keep you running shoes clean and dry at the same time to prevent skin issues.

42 Noymann March 21, 2014 at 5:29 am

The article is just great. If I read this article several years ago, I think I wouldn’t have to treat my knee. Meanwhile, I’d like to focus on the running routine and on the way a person can control all muscles in the body. I’m sure that running injuries occur because most people cannot run. They do everything right – they train, they warm up, they buy the best running shoes, they read articles like this one BUT they miss one thing – they forget about learning to run. Aren’t you shocked by the fact that 74% of runners suffer from injuries every year? Why does it happen? People just run wrong. Sometimes they just need to have advice from a pro but most often their nerves cannot control muscles the way that it is intended for quality running. I, for example, had to learn how to right with CAREN, DNS, and intensive physical therapy. Now, when my problem is gone, I can say – learn to run and you will forget about injuries.

43 Marine Officer March 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm

These are really great tips that I’m going to start trying to implement. Being a Marine running takes a huge toll on my joints due to the fact that I’m running in heavy boots with extra gearing weighing me down. I’m hoping these tips will help alleviate some of my problems. I will let you know.
Thanks!

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