With the racing season coming up soon, before we get into our busy intense training schedule, we should look after our body to make sure we make it to the end of the season feeling great and without any injuries. One of the most fundamental concepts for proper training to improve our distance and performance is regular running. Unfortunately, some main issues can get in the way like lack of time or busy work schedule, lack of motivation and the most challenging are injuries. There are some simple and efficient principles to follow to minimize your risk of injuries.
6 Simple tips to avoid injuries during the racing season
- Alternate your running shoes: Studies have found that runners who used different shoe models reduced their risk of injuries by 39% more than those who always ran in the same shoes. Using different shoe models provides a slight variation in the muscle usage, variation of the impact forces, lowering the strain on muscle tissue and other mechanism. This is an easy way to avoid injuries, as long as you buy shoes that match your foot form, underpronation, overpronation or neutral form. Get shoe models with a comfortable and natural feeling according to your foot form and training.
- Keep your training routine flexible: Following a training plan and schedule for proper training is very beneficial. Runners should not get over-obsessed with always targeting the mileage or to complete the exact plan every single week. Adjustments are often needed to deal with changes in work schedules or family life schedule, other commitments, or most importantly the first signs of injuries. It’s better to be more flexible and readjust your training plan if you feel some injury issues starting.
- Feeling fatigue, take it easy: Before each run, ask yourself how you feel with the planned run. You can either motivate yourself to reach your goal, or if you have issues with fatigue, stress, muscle soreness or overall tiredness, readjust your run plan to make sure you don’t overstress your body or muscles. When you are following a training plan for months, you will have some days where you will have to readjust the distance or intensity due to some physical issues. Be honest with yourself, don’t use it as an excuse to skip your runs, if you feel ok, keep training according to your body.
- Build up gradually: A lot of injuries come from increasing training, distance or intensity too quickly. The common recommendation is to follow the 10% weekly increase of distance. Some experienced runners don’t have to follow that rule as it doesn’t apply in many situations. Experienced runners can use their past experience to assess what is a reasonable build up according to their performance levels. Increasing intensity like speedwork too quickly can cause injuries very quickly. Build up your training by listening to your body.
- Focus on the race details: As you get closer to an important race, train in similar elements of the race, terrain, elevation, climate, pace. By training your body specifically, you will lower the risks of straining your body and causing injuries.
- Massage, foam rolling and physio: Focusing on regular stretching, foam rolling and getting sport massages can help reduce the risk of injuries. Not only does it release the muscle tightness, but one of the main benefits is that it improves your awareness of how your body and muscles feel day by day during your intense training so you can make adjustments to your running form to avoid injuries. Also, by releasing muscle tightness that can restrict the range of motion and biomechanics, will lead to better runs, lower the risk of injuries. For runners with high weekly mileage, regular foam rolling and stretching is highly recommended and at least a sport massage once or twice a month will also help prevent injuries. For ultra-runners, regular physio sessions can also help prevent injuries, by focusing on muscle release, readjusting the biomechanics, and strengthening specific muscles to look after our running form.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!