You can run comfortably and injury-free!
When it comes to injury prevention, there is no one right answer for every person. However, there are a few general practices that are going to help you remain injury-free - or at least reduce the rate of injury - throughout your running journey.
First, warming up before you run, especially in the cold weather, is imperative. Doing some sort of dynamic stretching routine will help your muscles begin to function for running. Static stretching post-run will also help keep your legs from tightening up.
The repetitive activity of running often puts stress on the fascia
The big thing in injury prevention (and physical therapy and overall mobility) you’ll hear about these days is self-myofacial release (SMR) which helps to correct muscle imbalances, lengthens your muscles, breaks up adhesions and helps muscles relax - which will help avoid muscle restrictions when running.
To help understand how SMR works, it helps to understand what fascia are. Fascia are bands or sheets of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attach, stabilize, enclose and separate your muscles and other internal organs. With SMR, you’re focusing on those fascia that are surrounding your muscles. Because fascia are so strong and interconnected, if one spot gets pulled or injured, the effects ripple through the body.
The repetitive activity of running often puts stress on the fascia. And while your body’s protective response is initially a good thing, over time it can lead to a buildup of toxins, reduced bloodflow and oxygen to the area, plus increased pain due to contracting muscles. SMR helps reverse this by working out those knots that form and returning the fascia to their normal relaxed state.
After a run and in between running days, there are a number of products that can help you recover, and help keep your muscles happy through SMR. Many of these are products that can travel with you to races or even be kept in your car for post-run recovery.
It's important to take care of your body if you expect to keep up a running routine and make it to the finish line. SMR and proper pre- and post-run stretching will help you to remain healthy and, hopefully, injury free throughout your training.
Below are some of our favorite products to help keep you moving!