- Listen to Your Body
Regardless of what distance you’re preparing to run, listen to your body closely in order to prevent injury. Don’t follow one curriculum or schedule so precisely that you push through aches or pains simply to “check a box.” If you’re getting back into running or ramping up intensity, be smart about it. Maintain flexibility and patience with yourself.
Start by giving yourself permission: It’s OK to run at a slower pace, run fewer miles or walk more than is scheduled. If you’re training with intervals, consider increasing their intensity more gradually than the schedule indicates. Set the goal that is appropriate for YOU. You’re the best person to judge your body’s need for rest vs. a run.
- Incorporate Strength Training
Women runners who strength train regularly aren’t just stronger. They’re also healthier, less prone to injury and have greater endurance and higher metabolic rates. We see far less injuries among participants who incorporate at least some strength training, even as little as once per week.
Integrate core movements that build up the large muscle groups used in running, like lunges, squats, push-ups and planks. These can compliment (or jump-start) your regular strength routine. Focus on static strength moves vs. cardio “explosive” moves to minimize undue stress on the joints.
- Don’t Skimp on Stretching
Stretching is crucial for women who want to stay injury-free during a running program. At minimum, your post-running routine should include stretches for the hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and stretch each muscle group more than once.
If you need a refresher on basic stretches, strength training moves or other running topics, make sure to check with a certified fitness instructor (we like our Moms on the Run head coaches best!).
So the weather has warmed up and you’re ready to hit the running trails again? Or take your running routine back outside and off the dreaded treadmill? Whether you’re new-ish to running or making a return, here are three tips to get you on your way safely and confidently: