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Top 10 Tips for Injury Prevention

Injury Prevention is the key to a healthy and successful season. If you think injuries are bound to happen once you begin to increase your volume of training … think again! Proactively incorporating the following tips as a part of your training regimen will help you cross your finish line injury-free.

10 – Follow the training schedule and avoid OVERTRAINING.

  • There is a fine line between OVER-training (doing TOO much and at too hard of an effort) and UNDER-training (doing TOO little). That small margin could be the difference between pain-free training and an injury.

9 – Get a GAIT & MOVEMENT ANALYSIS early in the season to understand your movement patterns & limitations.

  • Understanding the ins and outs of your unique running form will give you a more comprehensive understanding of the global movement patterns that could be limiting your strength, mobility, and flexibility–and ultimately preventing you from achieving your peak performance.

8 – CROSS TRAIN.

  • Cross training is any form of exercise outside of running. It allows us to add volume and frequency to our training in a safe and effective manner. Running is a high-impact exercise that involves repetitive motion over a long period of time. By implementing other forms of cardiovascular exercise, we can improve our strength, flexibility and endurance without the added stress of running alone.
  • Here are a few popular examples of cross training: cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates, CrossFit, etc.

7 – Implement RUNNING DRILLS during warm-ups and easy runs.

  • Running drills are one of the most effective ways to improve your running form – and focusing on your running form can make a significant difference in helping you become a better, faster, more efficient runner.
  • Why do them? Drills teach your body to land below your center of mass and absorb the force of impact. They help improve foot strike and can improve performance with an increase in stride rate and stride length.
  • Try to incorporate 4-6 drills into all of your warm-ups. For example, after you’ve run for 5-10 minutes, alternate between doing a drill and running easy. The best way is to do them between lampposts; so alternate one lamppost drill #1, one lamppost run easy, one lamppost drill #2, one lamppost run easy, etc.
  • Examples: strides, high knees, skipping, side shuffle grapevines, butt kicks (& many more!)

6 – Stretch in a DYNAMIC, THREE-DIMENSIONAL manner.

  • Functional, dynamic stretching is a more active & specific way to loosen up your body before a workout, expedite recovery post-workout and improve flexibility and joint mobility.
  • A good place to start is with a lunge matrix stretch to assess areas of the body that feel limited or restricted. From there, key in on specific stretches or movements to address areas that need it (finishlinept.com has videos that demonstrate stretches for specific body parts).
  • WATCH THIS: http://finishlinept.com/videos

5 – Perform SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE before and after workouts.

  • Self-myofascial work provides relief from muscle pain & soreness; increases flexibility & strength; accelerates recovery; and releases knots, trigger points, and adhesions that can result from training.
  • Roll before and after exercise for BEST results; implement breathing techniques for relaxation.
  • WATCH THIS: http://finishlinept.com/videos

4 – Incorporate STRENGTH TRAINING 2x/week, emphasizing your lower extremity and core.

  • Regular strength training helps you stay healthy and become a faster, more efficient runner.
  • The best strengthening exercises: are three-dimensional, multi-joint; focus on the FULL body; and are running-specific.

3 – HYDRATE early and often.

  • Water is crucial for your body to achieve optimal function. Water brings nutrition to your cells, helps you digest & metabolize food and regulates your blood volume & pressure.
  • How much should you drink? 0.6 x body weight = # of ounces of water/day
  • Instead of sugary electrolyte replacement drinks (i.e. Gatorade), replace the salt you lose during a workout by adding a ¼ tsp. of celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt for every quart of water. To give it a bit of natural flavor, squeeze in some fresh lemon or orange juice.

2 – Introduce VARIATION to help avoid repetitive stresses.

  • Alternate and/or change your running shoes frequently; ensure you are in the most appropriate shoe for your foot and body type; vary running surfaces; change your running route; adjust the type of workout; and incorporate cross-training on non-running days.

1 – LISTEN to your body.

  • You are the only one that knows exactly what you are feeling. You are the best judge of whether or not you should RUN or REST. Be smart! If there is any doubt as to whether you should run, choose the more conservative route: complete rest or (pain-free) cross training.
  • Additionally, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a great option to continue running while recovering from an injury—without the added stress on your body. Finish Line PT has one!
  • Not sure how long to cross train for? When done in place of running, simply cross train for the same amount of time you were scheduled to run.

PREHAB so you don’t have to Rehab.

  • Incorporating prehabilitation – or “prehab” – into your training regimen is one of the most effective ways to: proactively minimize limitations and reduce aches & pains; avoid injury to train consistently at maximum effort; and feel more prepared for your race.
  • A few simple tweaks can mean a modest—if not significant—PR. Who doesn’t love that?

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