Running tips to help prevent injury

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kristinaWhen it comes to running, many new to the sport encounter niggling injuries. These can bring your running to a halt, and any training for an event or triathlon to a standstill. UniRec Centre exercise physiologist Kristina Jessup share 10 tips aimed at reducing the risk of injury.

1 ) It’s easy to become injured, so be careful and listen to your body. As a beginner starting out or after a break, be aware of doing too much too soon. Everyone is different and 10kms to you may be someone else’s 5kms. Start out slowly and consistently, then build it up.

2 ) Follow the 10% rule when starting out and testing your limits. Adjust your mileage by 1km for each run if you are currently comfortable at 10km runs. This rule can be too much and not enough at times and it can also depend on training history, fitness level and experience.

3 ) Take your time breaking in new footwear. Allow your feet and body time to adjust to new shoes by listening to your body and slowly building up your mileage.

4 ) For runners who understand the importance of cross-training, ask a physiotherapist, personal trainer or exercise physiologist to assess your form when squatting or performing other body weight exercises and to focus on ankle alignment. They will be able to give you feedback and coach you on maintaining a neutral ankle position and avoid pronation which places increased stress through the knee joint.

5 ) Shorten your running stride. This should decrease the impact force through the lower limbs and thereby decrease the likelihood of stress fractures and other injuries associated with running.

6 ) If starting out, choose soft, flat running surfaces where possible. Avoid roads with uneven surfaces to minimise aggravating the hips and knees which place unnecessary strain on the joints.

7 ) A foam roller is a great tool to help keep you injury free. Loosen yourself up on all the muscles of the lower body, from the gluteals to the gastrocnemius.

8 ) Perform calf strengthening exercises. An eccentric single leg heel lower is one exercise which will help prevent an issue with the Achilles tendon or calves. Perform a double leg heel raise on a step, move onto the left foot, then slowly lower yourself down on the left foot until the heel is below the step and you feel a gentle stretch in the Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius. Repeat three times (10 – 15 reps).

9 ) Regular massages will assist in relieving tension and tight muscles. Try remedial massage and sport massage to aid your recovery and reduce injury risk, aches and pains.

10 ) If injured, use ‘RICE’ as soon as possible to aid recovery. Rest, Ice for 10 minutes every 1 -2 hours, wrap the area in a Compression bandage and Elevate.

To find out more about UniRec or to contact Kristina Jessup visit: www.unirec.co.nz

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