Running injuries can be easily prevented with a few simple precautions. The Department of Physiotherapy at Singapore General Hospital shares some tips.
There are many ways to sustain running injuries. Some runners are overly enthusiastic and increase their distance or speed too fast during training. Some don’t take sufficient time to warm-up. Some wear improper shoes. Most if not all of these factors can be prevented.
“If you plan to run more frequently or are preparing for a marathon, it’s important to increase the intensity gradually,” says Ms Suelyn Chan, Principal Physiotherapist,
Department of Physiotherapy,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
She adds, “You need to listen to your body, especially if you don’t have a habit of running often. The nagging pain that comes the day after a run is called DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness). It’s your body’s way of warning you, so take heed and rest for 2 to 3 days before resuming your training.”
To minimise your risk of getting running injuries, here are some running tips
Start with a running plan
Before you start training, develop a running plan in line with your fitness abilities and goals. Set safe, achievable goals, by increasing distance by no more than 10 per cent each time.
Take sufficient time to warm-up and cool-down
Injuries often occur as a result of inadequate warm-ups. Always remember to prepare your muscles for a run by doing a light jogging or brisk walk followed by stretching your muscles, especially your calves, hamstrings, groin and quadriceps, both before and after a run. Be diligent about warming up and cooling down and it will go a long way towards saving you the pain of running injuries.
Run on the right surface
Whenever possible, avoid running on curvy roads and steep hills. Instead, opt for flat, smooth surfaces.
Incorporate strength training
Adding weight training and core exercises to your fitness routine builds overall body strength and help prevent running injuries.
Perhaps the most obvious of all running tips is that keeping your body well hydrated will prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Be sure to drink an extra 1½ to 2½ cups of water on the days that you plan to run. If you run for more than an hour, you should consume a sports drink to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.
In addition to these running tips, Ms Chan also has some words of advice for those new to marathon running.
“Besides the long distance, runners also need to factor in the time of the run,” she says. “Take for example the Sundown Marathon that starts close to midnight. If you haven’t been conditioned to run so late at night, you will most likely fatigue easily as your body clock is programmed to shut down during that time.”
Although running is an easy sport to pick up, preparation and gradual progression are keys to prevent running injuries.
Previous pages: Knee pain, shin splints, thigh and heel pain -- find out how to treat these common running injuries.