Avoid Common Errors In Training for Your First Race

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Female runner bent over grasping knee

Running has been gaining in popularity over the last two decades, and in the past several years, the numbers of participants in competitions has increased significantly.

Unfortunately, as runners begin to train for their first running competitions, many become injured. Some of the most common running injuries include:

  • Runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome)
  • Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Muscle & ankle sprains
  • Iliotibial band syndrome

Training Errors

These running injuries are often attributed to training errors. Training errors are regularly caused by adding in too many new variables or trying to go from “zero-to-hero” with one’s speed and/or distance. So what can be done to successfully train for a running competition? Here is a quick checklist from UH Sports Medicine.

The first step is making sure you are wearing the correct shoe type.  Going to a locally owned athletic shoe store and having your foot type examined for correct fit is a great way to solve this.

The next step is to be mindful of the surfaces and terrain you are running on regularly.  For example: Are you always running on only the left side of the road?  This can create leg length discrepancies as you run.

Additionally, avoid progressing too fast, increasing towards high mileage in a short amount of time, or running at increased frequency or intensity too quickly.

The Importance of a Good Training Program

Following an appropriate training program prevents most training errors. A good training program will build up your mileage progressively and will allow your body to undergo the necessary adaptations to avoid injury.

Cross-training is important as well in order to build strength and flexibility that running does not develop. 

If you do experience an injury, and it does not heal quickly on its own, follow up with a physical therapist who is experienced with running injuries.

The physical therapist will perform a full musculoskeletal examination and review your training schedule to treat the impairments and prevent the injury from returning.

A physical therapist will also perform a gait analysis to improve running efficiency.  Follow these tips, and it will help guide you to injury free running in the future.

Related Links

Always wanted to run a 5K but didn’t know where to start? Are you a 20-year distance runner? Or are you a couch potato looking to start running? The UH Rehabilitation Services and Sports Medicine running program can help. The program is intended for runners at all levels, from novices to ultramarathoners. Learn more about how the UH Rehabilitation Services and Sports Medicine running program can help you achieve your best.

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