Warmer weather is here, and you’ve set a summer goal: increasing your running mileage.
You’ve patiently waited through a long, cold winter and a rainy spring, and the time has finally come. But you can’t just walk out the front door and run a marathon.
Instead, increase your mileage slowly and steadily to avoid common running injuries. Here are a few tips from the expert team at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute about how to do just that.
Increasing your mileage works best when you ramp up gradually to allow your body to get used to the workload without breaking down. The generally accepted guideline is the 10% rule, which says you should limit your mileage increase to 10% per week.
So, if you ran 10 miles last week, aim for 11 miles this week. Those who increase their mileage more rapidly are more prone to injuries such as stress fractures.
As your miles increase, how you run becomes more important. Many running injuries stem from poor form, but you can correct that.
Keep upright as you run (don’t lean forward or back), make sure your shoulders are back and down, and keep your hands and arms loose and relaxed.
It may be a good idea to work with a running coach or personal trainer to critique your form as you get started. You can also visit a good running store for a form check and/or gait analysis.
Experienced runners know to change up their training so they’re not doing the same workout all the time. Follow their example — try some sprints, trail runs, hill runs, and even some fun 5Ks.
Cross-training and strength training can also help prevent injury. Try swimming, biking, and lifting weights to improve your running performance.
You may want to go all out every day, but pay attention to what your body tells you. If you’re getting shin splints or feeling a twinge in your hamstring, for example, you may need to ease up a bit.
Some soreness is okay to push through, but if it affects your form or forces you to push too hard, don’t be afraid to take days off. Rest days give your body a chance to recover so you can hit the road stronger than ever.
If you do encounter any running injuries or want to work out a more detailed injury-prevention plan, the team at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute is happy to help. Just call one of our offices in Austin or Cedar Park, Texas, or book your appointment using our online scheduler.