Since I have started running again injury prevention has been at the front of my mind.
During my previous bouts of training I suffered from many different injuries (mostly minor) ranging from a severe ankle injury occurring over ten years ago in high school that likely couldn’t have been prevented, to several overuse injuries stemming from improper running practices (poor shoes, lack of stretching, and upping my mileage too quickly). Overall, I have been pretty lucky despite not always doing the obvious and taking easy measures to prevent injury.
This time around I truly want to succeed and I have been taking serious precautions to prevent injuries.
I am certainly no expert on the subject matter, but I have been working very hard to stay healthy and these methods have worked well for me so far. Besides attempting to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep below are some of the things I have been doing:
I have made it a top priority to stretch properly following each workout I perform no matter how short it may be. I have been lazy in the past and I would only stretch when it was convenient for me and I definitely paid for it. I know firsthand how important this is to my training and how it can put a halt to all of my hard work. Stretching and improving my flexibility have become an extremely important element to my fitness.
When I have the time following a run or on a day off, I also love my foam roller and I enjoy practicing yoga. I am not at all flexible and I am absolutely incapable of relaxing my mind but I still always feel great after attending a class or going through a video and at least attempting to relax and let go of everything. I would certainly prefer an in person class and I used to attend them at a wonderful studio when I lived in Pennsylvania, but I have never been to one in D.C. due to the high cost. This video from Ekhart Yoga is one that I find extremely helpful and it is tailored towards runners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of2spyCtUkw. You can also find wonderful roam roller instructional videos on YouTube that are extremely helpful if you have never used one before.
- Properly Fitting Shoes
I was living in Washington, D.C. doing an internship prior to graduating college when I began taking running seriously and I was improving quickly, however I began to experience shin splints. Until this point I had never been fitted for a pair of running shoes by a professional and I thought I was being frugal by wearing a pair of shoes until there were holes in them. I had a lot of friends who were very serious runners and I went to them for advice about my injury. Upon seeing my shoes (that had relatively large holes in them) they knew exactly what the problem was. I visited my local running store to be fitted that weekend and my shin splints disappeared after only a brief period of rest and training in my new properly fitting shoes.
- Cross Training and Strength Training
Let me first say that I do not have a gym membership and I have no plans to purchase one anytime in the near future. They are ridiculously expensive in D.C. so I have grown to love workout DVD’s. I know that a traditional gym workout would probably provide me with more benefit, but I have a slim salary and I will do anything that can be done to save money in this crazy expensive city.
I am a huge fan of Jillian Michael’s and her at home workout videos. I own several of her DVD’s and I have found them to be beneficial to my training. I am particularly fond of her 30 Day Shred and her Ripped in 30 programs. Each DVD has multiple workouts and they have several different levels of difficulty for each program. The videos are short and intense and perfect for someone with long work hours and they incorporate both strength and short bouts of cardio. I know that Jillian’s style is not for everyone and most people either love her or hate her. I am definitely on team Jillian and highly recommend her videos. If you are skeptical and wish to try one of her workouts for free to see if they are something you enjoy before purchasing one visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pc-NizMgg8 and try Level 1 of her 30 Day Shred DVD.
- Taking it Slow and Take Off Days
I am notorious for pushing myself and doing too much too fast. To prevent injury when I began to build up my distance, I followed Hal Higdon’s free training program. Having structure is very helpful to me because I tend dismiss the signs that my body is giving me and I would work out every day if I did not have structure. Having a schedule demanding me to take a day off is extremely helpful to someone like me. I found my schedules here http://www.halhigdon.com/ but there are hundreds of training plans so do an online search and see if you can find one that works for you.