sports injury

Intelligent Running: How to Avoid Post-Race Running Injuries

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