If you are a beginner runner training for your first 5K or elite runner training to win a gold medal at the Olympics (and anywhere in between), you can avoid getting hurt from running a race through intelligent running.
Intelligent Running = No Post-Race Injuries
Just like an elite runner is able to race multiple times during the season and stay injury-free, you can enjoy a full running season and participate in the races that you want to participate in.
Soreness is OK
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is what I like to call nature’s tax on running a race. It is a normal level of muscle soreness and something that we must all pay for after running workouts, strength training, races, etc.
Pain is NOT OK
The day after your race is a great way to determine if you run intelligently.
Warning signs of unintelligent running to look for after your race:
- Sharp pains
- Significant limp
- Noticeable inflammation
Here is my checklist of intelligent running tips and what you need to be doing in order to maximize your performance and avoid the post-race limp.
The Secrets of Intelligent Running and How Runners Stay Injury-Free
- Going into your race prepared physically and mentally.
- Appropriate run training progressions with the volume and intensity of your workouts
- Running on soft surfaces
- Strength training with a focus on your injury prevention needs
- Regular core strength and stability work
- Regular foam rolling
- Correcting imbalances
- Single-leg training
- The right type of stretching at the right time: active dynamic stretching before workouts and active assisted stretching after workouts
- Sticking to a plant-based wholefoods nutrition plan that is low in sugar and processed foods
- Eating a lot of dark green leafy vegetables
- Eating enough calories and avoiding undernourishment
- Preventive icing after hard workouts
- Getting proper rest and being hydrated in the week leading up to your race
- Understanding the weather and how it can have an effect on your race pacing
- Looking at yourself honestly: body fat percentage, weight, past injuries, health concerns that can affect your running
- The right pair of sneakers for you
- Familiarizing yourself with the race course elevation and surface
- Tapering for your race properly
- A race pace goal that is consistent with your fitness level, recent training and races
- Running “your race” – avoiding the temptation to impress a family member, friend, running buddy, or stranger next to you.
- Patiently pacing yourself and sticking to your race pace goal.
This may seem like a lot, but it is really not. You probably already do some intelligent running strategies, so adding a few more is no big deal. If you still think it is a lot, remind yourself this:
Injuries will cost you more stress, money and time than intelligent running. It is just a matter of prioritizing what is most important to you.
It is commonly accepted amongst the running community that it is ok to have a new injury after a race.
Let me clarify this once and for all.
Unintelligent running will cause post-race injuries and injuries in general.
Intelligent running will keep you injury-free