Thursday, May 26, 2011

WLB4: How to Run Injury Free!

How to Run Injury-Free

By Jeff Galloway

One of my proudest accomplishments is being free of overuse injuries for almost 30 years. Below you will find the risks and the ways to avoid them.

My advice comes from working with over 200,000 runners in Galloway training groups, one-day running schools, Tahoe retreats, e-coaching and individual consultations. As runners send me the results of my suggestions, I adjust the training and rest schedules. The current injury-free program is listed below, but I continue to look for better ways of avoiding problems and reducing downtime.

Fewer Days of Training Per Week

Those who run three days a week have the lowest rate of injury. I believe that almost all runners, except for Olympic candidates and world record aspirants, can be just as fit and perform as well running every other day. This may involve two-a-day workouts and more quality on each day.

Having 48 hours between runs is like magic in repairing damage. Those who insert a short and slow jog on recovery day (junk miles) are not allowing for complete recovery. When a client complains about lingering aches and pains, I cut them back to every other day and the problems usually go away.

Go Slower on the Long Runs

After 30 years of tracking injuries during marathon training programs, I've found that most are due to running the long ones too fast. You can't run the long ones too slowly--you get the same endurance whether you go very fast or very slow. Slow running will allow your legs to recover faster. The fastest that I want our Galloway Training groups to run is two minutes per mile slower than goal pace. Many run three or four min/mi slower and experience very fast recovery. Be sure to slow down as the temperature increases: 30 sec/mi slower for each 5 degrees of temperature increase above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

More Walk Breaks

The continuous use of any muscle used the same way, increases fatigue more rapidly. Continuing to run continuously, with fatigued muscles, will greatly increase the chance of injury. You'll see on my website the recommended frequency of walk breaks, based upon pace. If you have aches and pains already, it is best to walk more often, from the beginning, than is recommended. The most important walk breaks are those taken in the beginning of the run, for these can erase all of the fatigue. Walk breaks will also tend to produce a faster time in all races from 5K up. The average improvement in a marathon among those who've run several without walk breaks is 13 minutes faster by taking the strategic walks.

Don't Stretch if You Have an Ache, Pain or Injury

Stretching a tight or injured muscle or tendon will increase the damage dramatically. Even one stretch will produce tears in the fibers, resulting in a longer recovery. Stretching a muscle that has been tightened by running can injure it within a minute. Massage is a great way to deal with the natural tightening produced by running. The tightening is mostly a good thing, allowing you to run more efficiently.

Be Careful With Speed Training

Speed workouts produce a lot of injuries. You can reduce the odds of this happening by warming up very well, doing a few light accelerations as described in my books Testing Yourself, Year-Round Plan, Half Marathon and Marathon. Other important injury-reduction factors are the following walking more between each speed repetition and staying smooth at the expense of time. Don't strain to run a certain time. This is most important at the end of a workout.

Never Push Through Pain, Inflammation or Loss-of-Function

If you experience one of the above, stop the run immediately. Continuing to run for another block or another lap will often produce multiples of damage requiring weeks or months off for repair--instead of days.

For more information, see Jeff's books Marathon, Half-Marathon, Running--A Year Round Plan, Walking -- The Complete Book and Galloway's Book on Running, 2nd Ed. These are available, autographed, from Join Jeff's blog:


FFF Diva Mo's Take: How To Run Injury Free
The bottomline is KNOW YOUR BODY and ASK QUESTIONS. If you don't ask your doctor, your trainer, or physical therapist what's going on with your pains and aches how will you know if it is a short term or long term injury. Trust me, PREVENTION of injury is very important and therefore stretching before and after a major run or cardio exercise is good for you.

I run to be free outdoors and be "one with nature." Running outdoors is definitely more refreshing than running indoors!



FFF Diva Mo: Where have you been?!

I know, I know. It's been like 10 years since my last WLB blog post! Trust me, I will make it up to y'all this weekend. I have this goal of at LEAST 3 posts a week, but I have been busy this week. WHY? I am graduating next Friday with my Masters in Business Administration (MBA degree) from Dominican University of California in Marin County, California (north of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco). It's taken 2 MBA program changes, a 7 month hiatus, and 4 years of commuting multiple days a week from South San Jose to Marin (that's 180 miles roundtrip!) while working full time and doing the 7 million other things I do to FINALLY get to this day: GRADUATION! And since it is also Mother's Day weekend, to honor my Mother I am wearing HER graduation gown she used when she graduated with her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. What else can make this day more special: knowing I paid my ENTIRE MBA degree out of pocket. How? The moment I graduated from Dominican in 2007 I moved home like a good Filipino Catholic girl. Since I live at home and commute I have been able to pay tuition on my own and with the help of family from time to time. This degree is definitely a FULL FAMILY EFFORT.

My graduation tickets, cap, tassel, hood (stole), AND a ticket from the San Rafael Police Department: yeah it's been a long week, LOL

Also, this past weekend I was an elected official at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento. I am the District Delegate for Assembly District 24 (South San Jose and Campbell) AND I am the Vice-President of Membership for the Silicon Valley Young Democrats. I do a lot.

Some photos from Sacramento:

Silicon Valley Young Dmeocrats with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

With former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, now Lt. Governor of California

This weekend will be full of final preparation for graduation next week, but more importantly it will also be MOTHER'S DAY! My brother and I plan to take our Mom for lunch and a nice walk together around the park. What will you be doing to be active and celebrate Mother's Day this weekend?!

Dedicated to health,
FFF Diva Mo

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