Running Injuries: Prevention and Cure – Part 1

Running Injuries: Prevention and Cure – Part 1

Back in 2018, when I joined a new organization and my colleagues came to know that I am a runner. After asking about my running journey the unavoidable topic came up and the whole focus shifted from running to running injuries. I have had this kind of conversation before as well and one thing that I have noticed every time is, people, especially those who do not run, completely overlook the innumerable benefits of running and focus only on few injuries, which, as a matter of fact, can be prevented and cured.

The most common injuries that make it to the top of the list are shin splints, calf pain, knee pain, muscle soreness, stomach ache, ankle pain, etc. In general, they complain about having pain in every joint and every muscle. While all of this is actually true but these can easily be prevented by adopting the correct approach.

I’ll be dividing this article into two parts so that it doesn’t get boring and people do not declare it useless without even reading, just like running.

This one is going to cover the prevention part of almost all the injuries that one might experience.

There are two kinds of people, one, who is a little active, they do some physical activity in form of any sport, walking, yoga, etc and second, who do not get time to do any of these due to personal and professional commitments. But there comes a day when the latter decides to break the routine and become healthy and more often than not they turn towards Running. They buy running gear, get up in the morning, go out, run, pant, get tired, come back and sleep. More often than not people stop their fitness journey then and there and curse Running for giving them pain. If they are a little motivated, they will bear the pain and continue the same routine for 5 days and then say goodbye to Running. By doing so, they close the door of a whole new world, which can offer them a fit and healthy life along with the company of amazing people.

Prevention from these injuries is only possible if we know what is the reason behind the pain. It is not “Running”, but the sudden unrest in the muscles and joints which were in hibernation for several years.

Our body has become used to being in a comfortable position, in our homes as well as in offices and when we break this comfortable position by doing a little intense physical activity, it creates pain. One thing worth noting here is, a little pain will always be there in our muscles when we ask them to do something different than their daily job (My butt still pains when I do jumping squats).

Below are a few points which will be helpful, the next time you plan to take up running.

1) STRETCH PROPERLY: No, this stretching doesn’t mean stretching your legs in L position like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. It means just waking your body muscles up from the slumber. Start with your neck and go all the way down to your toes. A proper sequence can be (aka pre-run workout):

 a) Neck rotation
 b) Shoulder rotation
 c) Wrist rotation
 d) Back Twist (left and right)
 e) Hip rotation
 f) Knee hugs and hip cradle
 g) Lateral hip movement
 h) Calf raises
 i) Ankle rotation
It might look like a long list but it won’t take more than 5-7 minutes and your body will be ready for an easy run. It is advisable to do dynamic stretches like mentioned above before you go for a run. It will give the much-needed heat to your muscles so that they can move freely.
2) LAND ON BALL OF THE FOOT, NOT ON HEEL: Because of our habit of walking, where we place our heel first on the ground and then the rest of the foot, we tend to run like that too, which is the major cause of knee pain, because the impact of that hit goes straight up to the knee. It’s a lot easier to correct this thing in the beginning than in the later stage.
Running drills can help you with this, like Penguin jumps, and A-skips etc.

3) START SLOW AND BUILD THE ENDURANCE: Start with slow runs, make your body used to short distances and once you become comfortable with it, then slowly introduce it to long distances. The initial focus must be on building endurance and stamina. Speed and strength can be gained later anytime. We have a lifetime for that (recently Gene Dykes, a 70-year-old man ran a marathon in 2:54:23).

4) HYDRATE YOURSELF WELL: Remember, “Runners don’t “drink” water, they hydrate themselves”. It includes drinking lots and lots of normal water, lemon water, water with honey. Symptoms of not hydrating yourself well include stomach ache during the run, muscle soreness, cramps (these can also happen when you try to run faster than the pace that your body can allow).

5) DEDICATE ONE DAY TO STRENGTHENING: Strengthening includes doing power exercises that can either be the only bodyweight or with weights that we use in the gym. Typical bodyweight workout may include the following:
 a) Pushups (Normal, Hindu, Wrestler, Diamond)
 b) Pull-ups (Close grip, wide grip)
 c) Squats (Normal, Sumo, Half, Jumping)
 d) Lunges (Forward, Reverse, Walking, Cross, Jumping)
 e) Burpees (Full, Half)
 f) Plank hold
 g) Core Workout
However if you are planning to use weights then remember, we are training our muscles to withstand fatigue not to lift heavyweights. So it is advisable to train with lighter weights.

6) TAKE PROPER REST: Here we are talking about two kinds of rests. One is taking proper sleep every day and the other is taking one day off running. Sleep is the most underestimated thing. In order to achieve what we want, the first thing we sacrifice is sleep (Probably by watching those motivational videos or movies where the guy wakes up at 4 in the morning and goes for a run, what they don’t show is, the guy is clever, he goes to bed at 9 itself in the night or max at 9:30). So please don’t be too motivated and sacrifice your sleep, take at least 7 hours of sleep every day. Coming to the second type of rest, take one whole day off, no running, no workout. Our body needs time to recover from the daily routine, give it some time.

7) INCLUDE CROSS-TRAINING: The best way to cross-train is by practicing some other sport. It can be swimming(the best), cycling, football, volleyball, kabaddi, badminton or even cricket, it can be any other sport. It will not only break the monotonous daily routine but will also engage those muscles which go untouched during running.

So next time you plan to give up on Running, please give it a second thought and try these preventive measures. Running has a lot to offer, just give it some time and your body will bloom.

Read other Running blogs here

If you liked the post, please share it with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *