GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

January 4, 2013

Picking up running? Prevent injuries before they occur

January in New England probably isn’t the best month to start a running routine. But if you’re going to actualize your New Year’s resolutions, you might as well start now.

For novice runners, the first few weeks are always the most risky when it comes to acquiring an injury. An aggressive, impact-type sport, running can cause you a host of problems if you aren’t careful.

Most running-related setbacks, however, can be mitigated with a few days of rest, but some can become chronic and nagging if ignored.

One thing every runner ­— or any exerciser for that matter — should know is that prevention is always more valuable than the cure. So if you’re planning on slimming down this season, read on to see how you can keep yourself on the straight and narrow jogging route.

Rest at least once per week. Your body will desperately need the healing time – especially at the beginning of a new routine. Running daily at the outset of a routine could very well land you in the clinic. Pick at least one day a week where your legs are completely activity free — not just running free.

Don’t huff and puff. Running form breaks down at a geometric rate when you’re excessively tired. Once your normal stride pattern is altered, your body is much more susceptible to injury — and the only thing more painful than watching someone with bad running form is being that runner. So, get your breath back, straighten up and fly right.

Alternate hard and easy workouts. Have at least one day of light activity between difficult workouts. Allowing your legs time to recover before your next workout will boost performance and keep you parts free from harm.

Are your feet tough enough? Maybe, but keeping your feet dry is the easiest way to avoid blisters, which can be a notorious problem for new runners. If your feet sweat a lot (or if your shoes are smelly — that’s another sign), change your socks before you run. Also, try putting some odor- and moisture-absorbing foam insoles in. They’re thin, absorbent and you’ll never know they’re there.

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