How to Avoid Pain and Injury for Runners

Running is a great individual effort sport. It teaches one how to set goals, adopt discipline, fix stride and cadence issues, breathe correctly, etc... Also, it is one of the most beneficial activities for cardiovascular health in general. With all of these upsides, why not run all the time. After all, the more activity the better correct? In this case, no.

With running, although it is so healthy for the heart and lungs, it can also be devastating on the joints and the muscles. The body is quickly and easily broken down from the impact of the feet to the street when running, and pain and injury tend to set in swiftly and chronically for long-time series runners.

If you want avoid pain and get rid of the possibility of injury as a runner, you will have to take precautions to make sure you do so properly. Here are some "how-to" tips to get rid of pain and injury as a serious runner.

1. Warm up and cool down with a walk

If you are going on a long run or even doing shorter fast-pace sessions that could include sprints, it is always best if you incorporate from time to cool down and decrease the heart rate. Not only will it get your heart rate in a proper zone, walking will also help to take the intense strain off of your joints temporarily so that there is lesser of a chance to over-train and injury yourself when running for a long period or sprinting for intervals.

2. Get a pair of padded insoles for your feet

If you plan to spend a lot of time in a pair of shoes hitting the pavement, you will want an insole that relieves pain caused by plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions because developing these conditions can be painful and also a major setback. Getting fitted for proper insoles and understanding how you place pressure on your body and spine through the striking of your feet can make the world of difference in long-term back pain and injury.

3. Get your cadence and form down

Looking to go out and put on 10 miles on the pavement and get up to distance or speed in a hurry? Working your way up too fast in general is a bad idea in terms of what your body can handle. However, it is also a bad idea to chase speed or distance too quickly before developing proper form and proper cadence. Work on a straight back with tucked arms and proper breathing first. Also, work on a cadence that is as close to 3 steps per second (180 steps per minute) as possible so that your form and stride are excellent prior to pushing your limits: it makes all the difference in the world.

4. Wear fitted running shoes

It is equally important to get a pair of running shoes that matches your style of running as it is to get your form down, wear the proper insoles, and warm-up properly. Getting fitted for your running shoes allows an expert to evaluate your pronation, your heel-to-toe strike (and the lift you need), the padding you need, the arch support you need, the weight of the shoe you need, etc... The proper running shoe takes you from a pain-laden injury-prone running nightmare, to the best running version of who you can be in just a matter of minutes: so pick out the right pair of shoes because it is vital to your running health!

Conclusion

These tips can give you some areas to work on in regard to avoiding injury and pain while runner. You have to take the proper precautions to make sure that running not only becomes a lifestyle-enhancing improvement for you, but also a sustainable practice.

Because the body is broken down so easily from running and also because running is such a great cardiovascular exercise, it is important to make sure you treat your body with the respect it needs to continue running for a long time.

If you have comments, suggestions, questions, or feedback, please leave below so we can discuss. Thank you!

The Best Elliptical For Runners

Serious runners tend to be very particular about their workouts, which is why many scoff at the idea of using an elliptical machine as part of their regular routine.  But ellipticals can actually be very effective in helping to recover from injury, providing a whole body workout and allowing you to boost your running speed and increase endurance by adding resistance.  With this in mind, it may be helpful to consider the best ellipticals for runners.

While all ellipticals combine the motions of cross-country skiing, running and stair climbing, not every elliptical will be able to provide the kind of workout that serious runners want.  When it comes to getting the most out of your elliptical, quality certainly matters.  You’ll want a good, sturdy machine that doesn’t contain too many plastic parts so that it can stand up to rugged use.  Also, though you can get ellipticals in either front, center or rear drive, runners usually opt for rear drive models that allow for a more natural positioning of the body.

Beyond durability and design, there are other qualities to look for in the best ellipticals for runners.  Primary among these is resistance.  Runners like to have at least 20 levels of resistance so that they can vary their workout to mimic different types of terrain.  Another feature that adds to resistance is a flywheel of at least 25 pounds.  This can give you the maximum challenge while continuing to perform smoothly.  With adjustable resistance you can allow for low impact workouts if you are rehabbing an injury or higher settings to help you firm, tone and strengthen muscles.

Stride is also extremely important when it comes to getting a healthy workout.  The best ellipticals for runners can adjust to accommodate different users or simply to give an individual user some variation in his routine.  Again, this can help to mimic workouts on different types of terrain or using different speeds in order to engage various groups of muscles and boost your workout.  Some machines combine stride variations with incline settings, allowing you to mimic the feel of running uphill or at full speed.

While ellipticals typically focus on the lower body, most also allow for working out the arms by including moving arm bars.  This can be an important feature for runners, who prefer an elliptical that allows them to achieve the same kind of synchronized, swinging arm movement that you use naturally while running.  Not only is this more comfortable, it allows for a full body workout, which is important to serious runners.  In most cases, runners tend to look for handlebars that synchronize naturally with pedal movement for a more unified workout.

Aside from these main features, other things to look for in the best ellipticals for runners include a wireless heart rate monitor to allow you to track pulse readings.  Some machines even have the ability to automatically adjust routines in order to help you achieve maximum heart rate.  At the same time, wireless capabilities can help you keep track of your data so that you can stay on top of your results and some even feature video workouts that can help you feel as if you are out on the road.

Though choosing an elliptical is a very personal thing, these tips can give you an idea of what to look for so that you can determine the best ellipticals for your training needs.  That way, whether you are a weekend jogger or a serious competitive runner, you can be sure to get the most out of your elliptical workout and help improve your endurance.