Runners focus on their pace and time goals. But not far behind that is a constant mental focus on… injury prevention.
Search online for common running injuries and you’ll find a long list. For such a simple sport, you might think that injuries were less frequent. What gives?
The main issue is a lack of balanced strength. Too many runners focus on just one thing - running - and forget about strengthening the rest of the body. If you’re a runner and want to prevent injuries, what should you do? Follow these tips to get strong and avoid common injuries that plague so many runners.
Your glutes play a major role in your running stride, strength, and stamina. Don’t ignore these muscles. If you do, it can create a problem in your kinetic chain that winds up causing pain in the hips, knees, and feet. Use these three exercises to strengthen this important area:
Donkey Kicks - Add a band for more resistance. This move forces your glutes to engage and pull your legs farther back than you would while running to further build strength.
Pistol Squats - One legged squats force you to engage your glutes, using them both to lower yourself and get back up out of the low squat position. If you’re a beginner, make sure you’re near a wall or something you can grab if you need some help getting up.
Lunges - Activate your butt muscles as you lunge and come up for the best results.
Tight hip flexors throw off your form and lead to muscle imbalances that end in injury. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to open up your hip flexors in all directions: leg swings. Do both lateral and forward leg swings to full extend your hips and allow for a fuller range of motion while running.
A strong core keeps you stabilized while running. It also stops you from putting excess pressure on the muscles of your lower body. Your core help you stay upright while running, preventing a sinking posture that can lead to injuries.
While training your core, focus on dynamic movements. Sure, static holds - like planks - will help improve strength and balance. But you want to train your core to coordinate between the movements of your upper and lower body. That’s what it has to do while you’re running. Do bicycle crunches, sit ups, and leg raises to focus on that all important dynamic movement.
Running puts your body through a lot of stress. Make sure you’re supporting your recovery efforts with the best supplements for building muscle. These three are critical for runners:
Whey Protein - Use the best whey protein supplement to supply your tired muscles with the protein they need to grow and recover.
BCAA’s - Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) support faster muscle recovery and less soreness. Use a post workout recovery drink with BCAA’s to prevent sore, tight muscles from leading to an imbalance or an injury.
Fish Oil - You need healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids to properly recover from tough workouts - including speed training and long runs. Use a fish oil supplement to ensure you’re getting enough omega-3 and aren’t at risk of omega-3 deficiency.
Don’t fear injuries - prevent them. Follow a smart training plan that includes rest days, cross training, and strength training with a focus on the muscles mentioned above. And don’t forget about your nutrition too. Use the best supplements for building muscle to get strong, prevent injuries, and keep making progress as a runner.