It doesn’t matter, if you are a jogger, runner, or more of a track and field competitor, injury prevention should be a priority. All three examples are powerful forms of exercise. Downtime, physical stress injuries, and muscle damage can result from proper pre-run conditioning. Most prepping techniques are simple and require only a few moments to save weeks or months of pain and hassle.
Prepping to Run
The importance of prepping to run cannot be emphasized enough. Athletes of all types suffer from stress injuries on a daily basis. Most all of these can be prevented with just a bit of running prep. Check out some of the more common running injuries below.
- Iliotibial band syndrome refers to inflammation of the outer ligament leading from your hip to your knee.
- Runner’s knee is an overuse injury resulting from continually tearing down the cartilage in your knee.
- Small cracks in your shin bones are known as stress fractures and can cause excruciating pain.
- You can cause shin splints by changing up your routine to quickly without prepping.
- Another overuse injury is pulled muscles often resulting from moving forward too quickly.
- Inflammation of the band which runs from your heel to your toe is known as plantar fasciitis and is most common in those with extremely tone calf muscles.
- If you increase the distance you run too fast, you can suffer from Achilles tendinitis.
- One of the most common injuries in sports medicine are sprained ankles.
RICE Injury Care
In almost all cases, you only need to prepare your body in order to prevent the injuries listed above. A few more minutes of exercise seems a small price to pay to reduce the risk of bodily damage.
If you do suffer from any type of running injury, seek professional medical attention. Your doctor can assist you in evaluating the damage and deciding the appropriate care route. This will also reduce your downtime and prevent irreparable harm. You will be back up and running your ass off in no time. Always remember the RICE method.
Run Readiness Benefits
In addition to preventing serious injuries, warmup sessions offer numerous other benefits. This is regardless of whether you run for pleasure or you perform in high-level competition.
- A warmup routine boosts both nutrient and oxygen delivery to your muscles as well as reduces the effects of Dyspnea.
- It improves your muscle flexibility and enhances your circulation.
- Warming up prepares your muscles for work and gets your mind in gear.
- It prepares the pathway from your nerves to your muscles.
- A warmup session enhances your coordination and reaction times.
- It can decrease the chances of what is termed secondary hypertension or a rapid elevation of blood pressure.
Many experts recommend jogging in place at a slow pace to prepare to run. It is best to do this no less than ten minutes prior to your routine run. Prep time averages around 25 minutes among most professional athletes. Pre-run warmups like this elevate your core temperature, increase your heart rate, and prime your muscles for action.
Dynamic stretching is another excellent pre-run warm-up. Controlled muscle movements are extremely effective for enhancing your overall circulation and increasing your heart rate. Dynamic stretching also psychs you mentally, loosens your muscles and improves your range of motion.
Walking lunges are a great warmup for just about any form of intense exercise. They tighten up the muscles in your lower body while preparing your body for your run. Walking lunges can enhance your athletic performance, increase your speed, and give you sexier legs to boot.
Swimming is not only exhilarating but also calls upon every muscle in your body. It may be the one-all pre-run warm-up. Many cross fit and HIIT trainers are fond of this method because of its aerobic benefits. Swimming strengthens your lung capacity, reduces running injuries, and enhances your ankle flexibility.
Nutritional Running Prep
Nutrition and supplementation are also important considerations for run routine readiness. Both micro and macronutrients help prepare your body for intense physical demands. Keep in mind that balance is key; however, some outweigh others in the nutritional showdown. While micronutrients are required in only small amounts, they are vital to a finely tuned, muscle machine.
Vitamin B12 is a micronutrient that helps provide your body with energy from the break down of protein and fats. It is responsible for the production of new red blood cells which deliver oxygen throughout your body. A lack of red blood cells and reduced oxygen delivery can cause fatigue. Opt for foods like beef liver and lamb to source B12 naturally. Try nutritional yeast for a vegetarian-friendly form.
Another essential micronutrient is vitamin D. It is often overshadowed by calcium but is also critical for all bodily functions. Many professionals believe that vitamin D deficiencies can increase your chances of muscle damage related to inflammation. The great news is sunshine is your number one source of vitamin D. Your skin uses sunlight to produce it.
Calcium is actually a macronutrient. Your body stores almost all of it within your teeth and bones. Calcium is classified as an electrolyte important to muscle contraction and vasodilation. Raw milk, yogurt, and cheese are abundant in it, but dairy products are not the only great options. If you follow a vegan-based diet, consider kale which offers nearly as much as milk. Broccoli, okra, and almonds will provide a bit, but in smaller amounts.
Beef liver and lamb mentioned above also provide protein. It is one of the most popular macronutrients in the fitness world because it is needed to build and strengthen muscles. You probably already have an arsenal of protein-boosting tricks up your sleeve. Avocados are a surprisingly excellent source of protein which also provides omega 3 fatty acids and protective antioxidants.