Race training can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Get the lowdown on how to reduce your risk of injuries, whether you’re a seasoned runner or just beginning your training.
Running injuries are common, but they don’t have to be. Reduce your risk by following these guidelines to maximize your safety.
Before you begin a training program
- Always consult with your physician before beginning any new exercise routine.
- Develop a running/walking plan and strategy that is compatible with your goal and your current level of fitness.
- Set safe, achievable goals and advance slowly and cautiously.
Before you walk/run
- Drink 14 to 20 ounces of water or a sports drink two to three hours before your run to ensure you’re hydrated.
- Start with easy walking or jogging to warm your muscles and increase your blood flow. This will optimize your transition from rest to running, which can help improve your performance. Walk easy for one minute, then walk briskly (on the edge of running) for one to two minutes before you start to run.
- Increase your speed slowly.
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During your walks/runs
- In cool weather, you are less likely to get chilled if you run/walk into the wind when you start and run/walk with the wind at the finish.
- Use extra caution if you run/walk when it’s dark outside. Wear reflective material, stay in well-lit areas and, if possible, run with a friend.
- Whenever possible, run/walk on a clear, smooth, resilient, even and reasonably soft surface.
- Run/walk with a partner when possible. If alone, carry identification.
- Avoid using headphones, especially if you are running/walking on the street, so you can hear traffic and warning sounds.
- Stop training if you are hurt; pushing through pain can make an injury worse, which will keep you from training for a long time.
After your walk/run
- It’s important to cool down after your run. Walk to help prevent tight muscles and injuries.
- You can lose between 6 and 12 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid every 20 to 30 minutes along your route. Weigh yourself before and after a run. For every pound lost, drink 16 ounces of fluid.
- Inspect your shoes periodically during training; if they have worn thin or are angled, purchase new shoes before your next run/walk.