Don’t get sidelined with running injuries. A few precautions will keep you on your feet.
Step 1: Have your feet evaluated If you’re new to the sport, consider consulting a sports clinic before you buy running shoes, or buy them in a sports store that specializes in running shoes, where they’ll be able to determine the best shoe for your gait, and whether you could benefit from orthotics, inserts that hold your foot in place.
TIP: Bring along your old sneakers to show which part of your shoe gets the most wear and tear.
Step 2: Don’t run in worn shoes Get new running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Worn-out shoes can lead to shin splints, a common running injury that causes pain along the front of your lower leg.
TIP: Flexing and pointing both feet in the air as you sit in a chair helps prevent shin splints by strengthening the muscles around the shinbones.
Step 3: Warm up Warm up before you run by walking briskly for about five minutes.
Step 4: Lessen the impact Run on a smooth surface.
Step 5: Don’t overdo it Don’t push yourself to run longer, faster, or more often than feels comfortable. Overdoing it leads to overuse injuries, which develop over time, rather than as the result of a single event. According to one study, 70 percent of runners sustain overuse injuries in any 12-month period.
TIP: Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent, and allow three to four weeks before speeding up your pace.
Step 6: Strengthen your feet Whenever you have a few moments, take off your shoes and socks, and strengthen your foot muscles by placing a hand towel on the floor and crumpling it up with your toes. This can help prevent plantar fasciitis, a common running injury that causes pain in the bottom of the foot.
Step 7: End with stretches When you finish your run, do a round of stretches to keep yourself limber.
Step 8: Limit heels and flip-flops Limit how often you wear high heels or flip-flop sandals. They can harm knees and make existing foot and leg injuries worse.
FACT: In August 2008, Irishman Tony Mangan broke a world record by running on a treadmill for 48 hours nonstop.