Spring is upon us, and with nicer weather, many runners are getting back out there to hit the roads and trails. What many people don’t know is that there is a right way and wrong way to run, and the wrong way will often lead to injury. Here are a few basic tips to help you get the most out of your run and reduce the risk of injury.

  1. Wear the right shoes
    Make sure that the shoes you’re wearing fit properly and provide adequate support. If you can afford to spend a little extra on your running shoes, find a specialty running shop and have a custom pair of shoes made for you.
  2. Maintain a short stride
    When running, you want to maintain a short, quick stride and avoid reaching forward with your foot. By over-striding, you cause your foot to impact the ground with more force and with a straighter leg, making it harder for the muscles around the knee to absorb the impact, putting you at higher risk for injury.
  3. Make sure your foot strikes under the knee
    One way to measure your stride is whether your foot is contacting the ground directly under your knee or in front of it. It doesn’t matter if your heel or the ball of your foot hits the ground first, as long as your foot is not in front of your knee.
  4. Pay attention to your arms
    Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less and keep your hands loose and below your chest. Avoid having your arms cross over your chest or punching forward, as these can throw off your gain and lead to injury.
  5. Start off slow
    When starting a new running routine, start off slow and gradually increase the intensity of the workout. Add no more than 10% distance per week.

Sometimes injuries occur even when all the proper precautions have been taken. If you’ve incurred a running injury, or you’re just interested in a wellness screening to see if you’re fit to begin a new exercise regimen, schedule an appointment at Access Physical Therapy & Wellness – find your nearest location here.