If your goal is to enjoy running healthy and avoiding injury, (which should be the goal of every avid recreational runner and professional athlete) there are a few very important key points to keep in mind while training to ensure you stay healthy and injury-free.
I recently read an excellent article by Jennifer Van Allen in Runner’s World, 5 Keys to Running Healthy and Staying Injury-Free. The recommended “rules” for running healthy definitely apply to runners of all ages and abilities, but I also believe that ALL five of these great guidelines are Universal Keys to enjoying good health.
Regardless of your sport or activity, to keep your body strong, fit, healthy, and injury-free you would be well advised to follow these five simple guidelines:
- Avoid TOO Much, TOO Soon, and TOO Fast.
- Learn to Listen to Your Body
- Wear the Right Shoes
- Chart Your Progress and Take Good Notes
The list above is the condensed version for those of you reading this who just want to get straight to the point! For details, and to read the full Runner’s World article on running healthy, click here.
As a proponent of Pilates, foot-fitness, and functional movement to develop healthy movement habits for everything you do, I believe that cross-training is one of the most important parts of developing a well-balanced body to keep you injury-free.
Of course as a runner, the only way to improve for your sport is to get out there and run. But overuse injuries, poor posture, and bad gait habits can keep you from getting your miles in and wreak havoc on every single piece of your body from your feet all the way up to your head. Taking time off when you’re hurt to rest and recover will eventually take the pain away, but if you never work on improving your body mechanics and re-balancing overused and over/underdeveloped muscles you’ll be running from injury to injury, instead of running to enjoy good health. Swimming, biking, and rowing are all great ways to get your cardio in without pounding the pavement. But by adding Pilates, foot-fitness, Yoga, and other strength & conditioning activities to your weekly workout routine can in the long run (no pun intended) make you a better runner and help keep you injury-free.
Take these five tips to running healthy and avoiding injury to heart. Pay attention to your body, treat it with kindness and care, make time to cross-train, and enjoy a lifetime of running healthy to maintain and improve your whole-body health.