The earlier than usual warm weather has sent many of us outdoors, including runners who have started training programs to prepare for future races.
That’s why Mayo Clinic Health System is reminding people of the dangers of common running-related injuries and offering tips to avoid them.
“Running is great cardiovascular exercise, but it’s a high-impact sport, and you want to make sure you focus on having a good plan in place,” said Jacob Ziegler, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Mayo Clinic Health System. “One important thing to avoid injury is to build yourself up slowly and sustain that buildup over time. Sudden increases can result in overuse injuries.”
When in doubt, having a sports medicine specialist analyze your posture, stride and foot strike can help correct problems before they lead to injuries. Here are a few other important tips to consider, especially for first-time runners:
- Replace your shoes regularly. They lose up to half of their cushioning after 250 to 500 miles.
- Build up slowly. Abruptly changing distance, speed or terrain can lead to injuries.
- Add some speed. Interval training offers great conditioning results in less time.
- Seek out soft surfaces. Dirt, grass, running tracks and treadmills are all more forgiving than sidewalks.
- Mind your mileage. Forty miles per week is a smart upper limit for most runners.
- Train like a triathlete. Incorporating lower-impact cross-training gives your body a break.
- Work your muscles. Strength training helps muscles to absorb impact and protect joints.
- Stick to a healthy diet. Too much calorie-cutting can lead to stress fractures, especially in women.
- Pencil in a rest day. Time off allows your bones, joints and other tissues to heal and rebuild.
- See a sports medicine doctor. Prior injuries can predict future ones. An expert can help beat the cycle.
For those who have joint pain, including from running-related injuries, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato is offering a free Joint Pain Seminar. The event is 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the lower level conference room, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, 1025 Marsh St. The seminar is free and open to the public.
Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.