Follow these time-tested principles to get to the starting line feeling healthy and strong:
Know your limits:
Action Plan – Be the Tortoise, not the Hare. Increase your weekly and monthly running totals gradually, as dictated by the plan. But if that’s too aggressive for you, you may need to add more slowly. Be sure to alternate between hard and easy days, and never do any hard workouts—like speedwork or long runs—back to back.
Shorten your stride:
Action Plan- If you’ve had frequent running injuries, you might want to experiment running with your normal stride, just slightly shorter— about 10 percent. Overstriding has been linked to injuries. This will help reduce the length of your stride so you have a more frequent turnover. The number of footstrikes trumps having a longer stride because it reduces your impact load.
Start with a short distance, like a quarter mile, when making this change.
Use strength training to balance your body:
Action Plan- You don’t need to build bulging muscles. But it is important to develop core, hip, and lower-leg strength so you can run as fluidly and as symmetrically as possible. This can help prevent many common running injuries.
Cross-train for recovery:
Action Plan- Use cross-training activities to supplement your running, improve your muscle balance, and stay healthy. Swimming, cycling, elliptical training, and rowing will burn calories and improve your aerobic fitness while giving your body a break from the pounding of running.