Pathway to Injury-Free Running
Running is a love-hate relationship.
Some days running is a very rewarding, meditative experience, while other days it can be the source of agony, pain, and frustration. Particularly when that recurring injury you've been battling comes back, but this time, with vengeance. We're here to help you fight back.
Find what works for YOU.
There are countless conflicting articles out there that are overwhelming and can end up leading you down the wrong path. An example is stretching. You could easily find ten articles about how important it is to stretch before and after a run. Similarly, you could find ten about how stretching is actually bad for runners and it should be avoided like the plague. The truth is, both arguments have merit and evidence to back them up because it all comes down to the individual runner, and all runners are different.
After all, running is a very individual sport and it is important to find what works for you. That being said, this article will give you suggestions on how to run injury-free but it is recommended to make adjustments when you start finding what works for you.
The truth about stretching.
This is the hot topic in the running world. But what is commonly overlooked, is the fact that everyone's body is different. Some runners need to be thoroughly stretched out to get a good run in while others need little to no stretching at all. The best way to find what end of the spectrum you fall under is by keeping a running journal. Try stretching a lot some days, and then try stretching only briefly or not at all other days. Track what works for you and then make minor adjustments to find your optimal pre and post run stretching routine.
In general, runners who are very injury prone need more stretching than runners who are not. And most likely, you are reading this article because you have struggled with running injuries and you want to overcome them. Regardless, it is important to not only focus on the frequency of stretching, but also on he quality.
Stretching cold muscles can lead to tears or inflammation so it is recommended to do a warm up before stretching. Warm ups usually consist of 5-10 minutes of slow running or walking to get the blood pumping to your legs and warm up your muscles. Also, don't force yourself right into a stretch, ease into the stretch to avoid a muscle tear or pull. The duration of stretching also varies from runner to runner. But 15-30 seconds is recommenced.
Recovery is KEY!
Too many runners accept that running equals pain and push through it anyway. Often times, however, constant pain and soreness actually means that you're simply not recovering enough. Applying ice or heat to especially sore spots helps the muscles recover faster. Diet also plays a significant role in recovery. It is important to focus on maintaining sufficient levels of iron, sodium, and potassium so that your body can do what it needs to do to recover. Consult a doctor to get your blood tested.
One of the most effective ways to recover is to keep your legs loose as often as you can. This can be achieved by using muscle and massage rollers a few times a day. Muscle and massage rollers are great because you apply pressure on the exact spot that is sore to break up knots in your muscles so they can recover faster. However, there are an overwhelming amount of muscle and massage rollers out there so we made an easy guide to find the right roller for you. Click here to find the right recovery device for you.
The calf stretch. The MOST effective stretch.
Running is a very repetitive, high-stress motion and your calves are dealt a great deal of that stress. Therefore, it's not a surprise that a lot injuries are caused by calf strain. For example, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common running related injuries and one of the most effective remedies is stretching your calves. There are many ways to stretch your calves but none of them come close to a 45 degree angle slant board. 45 degrees is the optimal stretching angle for your calves and the board allows you to maintain exactly 45 degrees. Stretch Easy actually got started by making custom slant boards and to this day, handmade and hand painted slant boards are sold exclusively on our website and are pictured below. Get yours here or learn more.
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