Yesterday afternoon I did 3 miles on my own, and then met up with some friends to do 3 more. We went off our usual path to tackled a CRAZY hill. I "ran" the whole hill, but walking probably would have been faster.
I'm trying to be very careful with my running though because last time I started upping my mileage I got crazy shin splints.
There's tons of info out there regarding preventing running injuries, so don't just take my word for it - do your own research. But I've put together a little acronym for what I do to prevent injury. You may have heard of R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for when you're already injured, but if you're looking to prevent injury I recommend FWISMS (not nearly as catchy, unfortunately.)
F - Foam Roll. Oh, it hurts so good.
good video from Runner's World.
|You can find foam rollers in most sporting stores. Here's one from Amazon for like $11|
I - Ice. Icing is a little harder because it involves sitting still (which isn't something I do often) but it's very helpful for fighting injuries. Muscles swell up when you work them and ice keeps inflammation down and can prevent muscles from getting overly aggravated. Sometimes I ice as I'm going to sleep. I use the reusable ice packs and figure they'll stay long enough before I move in my sleep and knock them off. If you're daring - try an ice bath. It's not as hard as it seems and gets all those leg muscles at once. I wrote about ice baths here, if you want more info.
S- Stretch. I can't believe how many people neglect stretching (yeah husband, I'm talking about you). I start my workout by jogging for about 2 minutes at an easy pace and then pull over to stretch for a couple minutes. Then after my workout I try to dedicate at least 5 minutes to cool down stretches. Then later, I usually end up incorporating stretching into my foam rolling routine. I've found that if I'm ever sitting on the floor, I can't help but start to stretch, so if I'm already on the floor foam rolling, it's a good transition. Try it.
|This is me stretching... yeah right, I wish. Source: Lululemon Blog|
M - Massage. I get this done two ways. I use the massage "stick" that I purchased at a race expo (a little pricey - but totally worth it).
|This is the Sprinter Stick which is the one I use. It doesn't have much bend and can really get into those tough places. Plus, it's not super long so it's easier to travel with than my foam roller|
|finding time to ice and foam roll at my desk|
S - Strengthening. Runners are notoriously bad about strength training - but it's actually very important to preventing injuries. When running we engage tons of muscles, but we don't necessarily strengthen all those muscles. The gluteus medius is one of those muscles. It gets worked while running, but it's a little harder to target. Doing specific exercises for a few minutes a week on these areas can strengthen your body overall and protect it from overuse and poor form injuries. Here's a great exercise that I do regularly.
So there you have it, FWISMS.
And remember - I'm not a professional and am only speaking from personal experience. Do your own research, and always, consult with a doctor before starting any new fitness routine or exercises.