If you had a running fairy godmother and could be granted one wish, what would you wish for?
I asked this very question to my followers on social media a couple of weeks back and the overwhelming answer was to remain injury free.
Part of me was a little surprised – I thought everyone would be hell bent on running a Boston Marathon time and completing the world majors. But alas it appears avoiding injury is the dream many of us hold dear.
So here I am to help guide you through some principles you can apply to your own training to ensure you are putting your best foot forward in staying off that bench and on those roads/trails.
- Don’t get sucked into what other people are doing
- Listen to your body
- Incorporate strength work into your training
- Warm up properly
- Recover well
So let’s go into each of those in a little more detail shall we?
1. Don’t get sucked into what other people are doing.
Some people might get great results from running 5 days a week, and some people might get similar results running 3 times.
The only right thing is what’s right for you.
Our bodies are incredibly different and are all at very different stages in our experience.
We need to acknowledge what works for us and make sure our training accomodates that. Knowing what works for you is something that takes time and is why it’s so important to reflect on how training is going at regular intervals to make the most of the work you are putting in.
2. Listen to your body
Feeling pain is your bodies way of telling you there’s something wrong.
Don’t ignore it, do something about it.
It’s better to sort a niggle early (and have a short period of no running) than leave the niggle to develop into something bigger, and more catasphroic, that keeps you out for longer.
3. Incorporate strength work into your training
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 5 years you should know how important strength training is.
How many of you are actually doing it?
What kind of strength work are you doing? Is it targeting the areas you need to work on?
Have you learnt from niggles in the past or just waiting for them to go away with enough rest….guess what…they’ll only come back!
4.Warm up properly
Preparing our bodies for a workout is more important than cooling down.
Limbering up and getting those muscles nice and supple, and joints loosened off is key to a successful run.
A good warm up should involve;
- raising your heart rate,
- some dynamic stretches to get the body mobilised
- some exercises to activate your muscles.
5. Recover well
Take your recovery as seriously as your training. If you want to push your body and train hard, then you need to look after it.
Get some protein inside you within 30 minutes of your long run or hard session finishing – this will help your muscles repair and recover.
If you are having a ‘rest day’ try and keep it as restful and as light on strenuous activity as possible.
So there you have it – my top 6 training principles to help you avoid injury.
Whilst I’m at it, here are some post run static stretches to have a go at when you return from your run.
A little gift from me to you.
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