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Six Ways to Avoid a Running Injury

Update Date: Aug 14, 2014 02:29 PM EDT

Even though running is very good cardiovascular exercise, it can also lead to injuries when people are not careful. These injuries, such as a runner's knee or a stress fracture, can prevent people from exercising regularly. For competitive runners, just one injury can jeopardize the weeks, months and years of training that they have put in for races.

Here are Six ways to avoid a running injury:

1. Prep the Body by Walking

A pre-work out routine that involves stretching and walking can reduce one's risk of injury, especially for new runners or runners who have not ran for a significant period of time. Walking before running can heat up the body and get the muscles working. Walking can also strengthen the muscles, joints and tendons.

2. Run for your Body Type

Not every one can run the same distance in the same amount of time. People have to take into account their own body type. For heavier people, running at a much slower pace will put less impact on the knees. When people attempt to run vigorously even though the body is not equipped to do so, they can seriously injure themselves.

3. Follow a Plan or Get a Coach

For runners who want to set a goal, creating a training plan or hiring a coach can help prevent injuries. A training plan can help people pace themselves. By making a little bit of progress every day, the muscles, joints and tendons can get stronger, which reduces risk of injuries. If people have difficulty sticking to their own plan, hiring a coach offers structure. A coach can also be a part of a strong support group that encourages people to stick with their goal.

4. Pick the Right Shoes

Not all sneakers are made the same. When people are running, especially for long distances, picking the right shoes is vital. People should buy a pair of running sneakers that fit their feet comfortably. Runners should also replace their sneakers when they no longer work as well.

5. Practice Injury Prevention

Since injuries can be common, especially for avid runners, practicing injury prevention can be beneficial. Before running, people should always warm their body up for at least 10 minutes. People can also use foam rollers before or after their runs to loosen up their muscles. If something feels sore, it does not hurt to ice and elevate it. Furthermore, strength training can make the body stronger overall, which can prevent injuries as well.

6. Avoid Running on an Injury

Since injuries can take a long time to heal, some runners might get the itch to start their running routine earlier than recommended. However, running on an injury can make it worse, which would extend recovery time. Therefore, runners must find the will power to refrain from running until they are 100 percent recovered.

In the case of an injury, always seek medical help and give it time to heal properly.

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