I got new shoes today!!! Seriously feels SO much better to run. I ran a quick 2 miles to break them in and I felt like I was running on clouds. Hehe….I ran an 8:00-8:30 pace and felt amazing. It had me thinking more and more about how important good shoes and good form are to prevent injuries.
Since I’m back at running again 3-5 times a week I’ve been really focusing on my form. I want to avoid any injury as I’m diving into marathon training (marathon this December!) Fingers crossed that j don’t come across any injuries! Here are a few quick tips and reminders that I have been going over in my head as I run:
- Maintain a short, quick stride. Do not try to lengthen your stride; avoid reaching forward with your foot, which can lead to overstriding and will set you up for injury.
- Keep your knee in line. Make sure your foot strikes under your knee, not in front of it. It doesn’t matter whether the heel or forefoot hits the ground first, as long as your foot is not in front of your knee. This is especially important when running downhill.
- Push up and off. Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you. I like to imagine the ground is lava. 🙂
- Watch your elbows. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less.
- Relax your hands. Keep hands loose and below your chest. Make sure your hands don’t cross your midline and your hands don’t punch forward, both of which can throw off your gait. Also, I’ve been running with my iphone so I try to switch hands halfway though the workout. Same thing if you are carrying a water bottle, dog leash, etc.
- Work your core. When starting a running program, it is also a great time to start working on your core strength, particularly your glutes and abdominal muscles. A strong core makes it easier to stay upright—even when you’re tired—and avoid leaning too far forward from your hip, which can lead to injury. I am trying to do core workouts everyday no matter if I am running, swimming, weight lifting, etc. Core is sooooo important. Especially post-pregnancy! See here for good core exercises postpartum.
HILL RUNNING. Here are some tips for hill running. My marathon will be fairly flat, but there are a few rolling hills. I also like to hill train because running up hills makes you faster!
- Keep your head and chest up
- Look straight ahead
- Visualize the road rising to meet you
- Keep your shoulders back
- Push up and off the hill, springing from your toes
- Don’t bend at the waist and hunch over
- Keep your hands and fists loose
- Keep your torso upright
- Look straight ahead
- Visualize “controlled falling”
- Keep your nose over your toes
- Step softly; don’t let your feet slap the pavement
There are also other things to remember to help prevent injury.
- Gradually increase your mileage and speed. I’ve made a marathon training plan that gradually increases my mileage and I will also start doing speed training soon.
- Rest! This has always been hard for me, but give yourself plenty of recovery time between runs–especially your long runs.
- Shoes. Invest in a good pair of shoes. Go to a running shoe store where they can help you find the perfect shoe for your foot, running goals, and running form. My shoe might be perfect for me, but doesn’t mean it’ll be perfect for you! Every foot is different. 🙂
- Stretch and foam roll. I never do this enough. Stretching and foam rolling is always an after thought. It is SO important to do this after every run to help loosen up your muscles. So many of my injuries have occurred because I haven’t been stretching and foam rolling enough. My goal is to spend at least 30 minutes a day foam rolling. I’ll keep you posted how that goes! 🙂