I have had an interesting ride so far in life to get to where I am now. I have been to hell and back and seen the depths of what many would never expect to see just in the short 5 year detour I took, into a downward spiral. When I got my head right and my body clean, I took a long hard look at my life and decided that hitting the road and running again would really help me to feel ten times better. Now, I have been injured before, but when I got injured back in March (my third injury of the year), I had to take a hard lookout at what I was doing and what I needed to change to prevent injury in the future and to also keep me going while injured.
My top 3 tips to not getting injured:
1) Strengthen your core: As a runner, you really want to have a strong core! It will get you through those long runs and support you during your sprints. I have never had a strong core, I have gotten injured due to lack ability to keep myself upright. You strengthen your core and I guarantee this will help with avoiding injury. Your core works as a unit. Any upper or lower body movement starts with your core. Having a stronger core will allow you to change positions faster and be more mobile and nimble. Word on the street is that training and strengthening your core muscles helps prevent some of that lower back pain your start to feel on long runs too!
2) Hit the weights, strength training: Strength training is important for several reasons. As a runner or athlete, lifting weights can help you prevent injury and help eliminate those nagging chronic injuries. I have constant knee joint and TFL (hip muscle) pain when I run, so I am starting to heed my own advice, haha, but back to reasons you should lift! Weight training will help you balance out your muscles from muscle group to muscle group, helping to prevent injury; if you have good balance and strong muscles, a weird tweak or a wrong foot plant won’t cause your knee or other part of your body agonizing pain (muscle pulls or tears, etc). Long story short, strengthening your muscles is important. Makes your stronger and helps prevent injury by allowing you to move better and catch yourself easier (if you are clumsy like me)
3) Listen to your body: No matter what you do listen to your body. I am not talking about when you feel a good soreness that you got from doing crossfit the day before or the tiredness you feel because you just worked a full day at work. I am talking about that ache in your shin that is slowly turning into a stabbing pain or knee pain that comes on suddenly (any knee pain for that matter). These pains are your body’s way of talking to you and telling you to take it easy and rest. And if rest isn’t enough, go to the doctor. Do not risk further injury! I have played soccer on broken bones and torn ligaments and ended up turning a few days of rest into 8-12 weeks off of playing ball or running (whether it be because my injury now required surgery or crutches or whatnot). Above all else, listen to your body and just be aware of what your body is saying to you.
Some of these tips come from the first two injuries and others come from my present one which has landed me in a cam walker or orthotic walking boot. Since getting into the boot I have thrown myself a pity party and then pulled myself out of it. I contacted a friend who does fitness training and strength training to hook me up with some workouts that I could do with my limited mobility. She came through and the workouts are kicking my butt! The boot stinks, but with the proper mental attitude and workout routine, you can still get in a good sweat without re-injuring yourself. I know, because I have! Now get out there and sweat!
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