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Updated on June 9, 2012
The statistics don't work out well in your favor if you think you will be able to evade injury forever while enjoying running, or any other activity in your life. Unfortunately, injuries happen... but the good news is that they usually don't last long, happen frequently and or become severe. Most often, they are annoying and may disrupt your training. Some of the more common running injuries include:
1. Shin splints. For runners this is usually in the form of MTSS or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome... or an aching of the bone on the inside of your leg above your ankle and below your knee. If ignored they can become stress fractures, which generally require more than six weeks to heal.
2. Sore calves or feet.
3. Back pain.
4. Pulled hamstring. Despite their width, the hamstring is a very thin muscle that is easily pulled or torn.
5. Hip pain. Can be one or both hips but more often is a single hip and caused by an imbalance.
6. Knees. Depending on where in the knee you feel the pain, knee pain can be caused by a plethora of factors. Lateral pain is often caused by a tight IT band, the band of tissue that runs from your hip to your knee. Below the knee is often caused by Runners Knee or PFS/Patellafemoral Syndrome... an irritated band just below your knee. There are a million factors but are typically not caused by the knee itself but rather the muscles and tissues that track it.
1. Lack of flexibility. You can probably imagine that if the guide wires on a bridge are not even, that bridge has a problem. And so does your body.
2. Too much too soon. Make sure not to increase mileage/intensity faster than 10% per week.
3. Weak hips or core. If your core or hips aren't doing their job as the body's power house and centre of stability, other joints are forced to take up the slack on top of acting to move you forward.
4. Not seeing problems before they arise. You should spend some time stretching or doing myofascial release everyday to get acquainted with tight or sore areas to fix them before they become a problem.
5. Get fitted for proper footwear. The surface you land on is glued to your foot and as such is the same surface you land on every step. If this surface puts you out of alignment, you're in trouble.
6. Ask yourself if this run will help you or hurt you. Prevent injuries before they happen by listening to your body and resting when you need to rest.
7. Biomechanics. Both heel striking and landing too far onto your toes too soon can be a major cause if injury. Make sure to make gentle form adjustments but keep working to refining your form.
Of course, there are certain biomechanical faults that predispose you to injury that you are unable to avoid. If this is your situation, you need to be that much more careful to heed the above points!