If you are a competitive runner—such as running marathons, half-marathons, 10K runs, etc., you should do more than run when you train……you should cross-train your body……train like an athlete to avoid injuries and perform at a high level!
There is a certain amount of injury risk with any running program……decrease your risk of injury by doing the following:
1) You should cross-train your body. Lifting weights should be a big part of your training regimen. Two to 3 days a week of full body weight training will strengthen your core and overall body. A strong core is a prerequisite to being a strong runner. A strong body will also help you recover faster from races and injuries.
Plyometric and speed training should also be a part of your overall training program. Having more power and speed will give you an advantage over your competition. Speed and plyometric training increases your chances of injury. Do exercises correctly before doing them at full speed. You could include one day each of speed and plyometric training (not consecutive days).
2) Mastering proper running mechanics will make you a more efficient runner and protect you against injuries.
3) Don’t over-train your body. Research shows that the lowest number of running injuries occur when you run three days a week. Each added day increases your chance of injury. Also, don’t run too many miles in a week. Those who run 20 miles or less a week experience the lowest number of injuries.
4) You need rest between exercise days and walk breaks during long runs.
5) Proper warm-up. Dynamic stretching (using your muscles to warm-up your muscles) has been shown to prepare your body best for strenuous activity. A sample dynamic warm-up could be a 5-10 minute jog, prisoner squats, cone/ladder drills, lunges, etc. Static stretches would be done after your workout.
If you feel sharp pain during any run or exercise, stop immediately and seek medical help if needed. Don’t just be a runner—cross-train and run like an athlete. That’s what you are!
“Exercise is not my life…..exercise makes my life better!”
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