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Tips to prevent injuries in recreational runners

The popularity of recreational runners has steadily increased over the years. People now have a better understanding of the benefits of fitness and its effect on cardiovascular/mental health. Whether it’s reading the information in fitness magazines, blogs, or the internet, the information is readily available. These runners also usually value the risk of injury and therefore will do exercises to prevent injury. The problem is that most of these runners (without the guidance of a fitness professional) are not doing enough of these exercises or don’t know what to do. This article will go over some risk factors of running along with recommendations on how to prevent them.


Cement was created to enhance infrastructure, but as a human species, we were not designed to run, jump or play on it. Therefore, over the years sneakers and different footwear were designed to mitigate the stress of performing these types of activities on hard surfaces. The better solution is to run on trails, dirt roads, and softer surfaces when possible. Also, choose footwear that provides proper cushioning and stability as well as a sneaker that provides arch support if this is what you need. On the other side of the coin when you are not running, you need to incorporate exercises that strengthen your foot and ankle. Another tip is to look at the wear patterns on your sneakers, this will give you information on where you are bearing the most weight and will give the fitness professional information on what you need to work on.

Weight/Previous injury

The next risk factor is being overweight. Additional stress is placed on the joints while running and when coupled with poor form this significantly increases the chances of injury. A great alternative would be to use some walk-run intervals. For example, you can run for a minute and walk for two minutes to achieve a mile or desired distance. Along with running, you should incorporate other forms of aerobic activity weekly such as biking and swimming. Previous injuries are also a risk factor. If injured, you need to go through the full rehabilitation phase to allow proper healing for return to play. At a minimum, you should follow up with your doctor, and complete physical therapy. In addition to this, a corrective exercise specialist or fitness professional with a return to play experience for clients/athletes is strongly recommended. In a lot of cases, people are not 100 percent pain-free after leaving physical therapy and discontinue because insurance only covers a certain number of sessions. These folks then return to play not 100 percent and perform at an intensity (doing too much too fast) that eventually reinjures them.

The risk factors stated above (surface, footwear, weight, previous injuries) can be easily overlooked. When possible, try to incorporate some softer surfaces while running to minimize the stress on your joints. At least once a month analyze the wear patterns on the bottom of your sneakers. Also try to mix in some other aerobic activities such as swimming, biking, or rowing. And when injured, go through the full rehabilitation process along with including a return to play fitness professional on your team. I hope these tips were helpful. For more information on ways to prevent injuries during running or other exercises email us at and follow us on Instagram @Marvelfitny

N'Namdi Nelson, M.B.A, CSCS, ACSM-EP, PES, CES

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