Avoid Running Injuries with Dynamic Flexibility and Recovery

Runners are susceptible to frequent injuries because of the intensity associated with the exercise activity. Inflexibility and short recovery periods cause many running injuries.

Runners need to do weight training too! Strengthening your body will protect you from injuries and make you a more efficient runner. Proper strength training does not make you bulky and less flexible.

In fact, you will increase flexibility and muscle mass (burning more calories and fat) by performing strength exercises correctly with a full range of motion. Weight bearing exercise also improves your bone density.

Decrease your risk of running injuries by doing the following:

1) Don't over-train. 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.

Even the most enthusiastic exercisers need to take a break. One, or even two days off will not hurt your fitness efforts in the long-run.

In fact, resting your body will allow you to come back stronger the next day.

So, what are some signs of over-training?

--prolonged foot contact with the ground (i.e., no quickness or sluggish),

--low stamina,

--more than normal muscle soreness and

--inflammation of tendons or ligaments due to over-use. Lesson? Take a break and live a little! Five or six days of exercise is enough for anyone.

You need rest between exercise days and walk breaks during long runs.

2) Do a proper dynamic warm-up. Dynamic stretching has been shown to prepare your body best for strenuous activity. A sample dynamic warm-up could be a 5-10 minute progressive jog/run, prisoner squats, lunges, medicine ball chops, etc.

Dynamic flexibility is achieved by using your muscles to warm up your muscles. A more technical definition would be this: multiplanar soft tissue extensibility (in all 3 planes of motion) with efficiency throughout the full range of motion.

Athletes perform dynamic flexibility exercises to get ready for competition. But dynamic flexibility is not limited to athletes.

After your workout, do static stretches to return your muscles to their normal length.

3) Speed training increases your chance of injury. A dynamic warm-up is critical. Speed training can be done 2 days a week (not consecutive days) as part of your overall training program.

4) It makes a difference in your daily functioning and exercising when you practice good posture---standing, sitting, walking, running and exercising.

Always run with good mechanics. Bad posturing causes dysfunctions to happen in other parts of your body, and will eventually lead to injury. Common problems due to bad posturing include back pain, shoulder/neck pain and many other problems with your body's core.

If you feel sharp pain during any run or exercise, stop immediately and seek medical help if needed.

5) Use massage therapy to relieve your pain and realign your body. Here are a few methods to consider:

Active Release Techniques - Active Release Techniques are a collection of different “hands-on” soft-tissue techniques that treat changes in tissue texture and tension. If a muscle stays tight for a period of time, it weakens.

Muscle weakness affects your workout performance and leads to injuries. Active release techniques brings the muscles back to the tension and movement they should have.

Swedish Massage - Its purpose is to increase circulation and blood flow. The massage strokes are often in the direction of the heart. Oil or other lotions are used to allow for smooth massage strokes.

Deep Tissue Massage - This type of massage is a favorite among exercisers because it focuses on joints and muscle groups. The massage therapist pinpoints deep layers of the soft tissues to relieve pain or stress.

Neuromuscular Therapy - This type of massage is used to address postural imbalances. The massage is used to reduce pain/tension and strengthen the soft tissues.

Myoskeletal Alignment Technique - Postural distortions are identified and corrected using Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and myofascial techniques are used to lengthen tight muscles and tone weak or inhibited muscles.

You can't burn fat and lose weight if you are injured!

Be sure and download your Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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About Mark

Hi, I'm Mark Dilworth, Nutritionist, Dietary Strategies Specialist, Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist and Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.