10 Quick Fixes to Save Your Knees and Joints

6. Increase your volume of endurance training by less than 10 percent per week. Bringing your mileage up too quickly is a sure fire way to promote injury. Your body adapts to stress (training), compensates for it, and builds or gets stronger. If you put too much stress on your body, it can't compensate and breaks down further instead of getting stronger.

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7. Listen to your body. In my experience your body gives you an indication that you are about to sustain an overuse injury. This may be in the form of a slight or nagging pain. Stop training at this point and you will more than likely be all right after a bit of rest. If you try to push through the pain you may end up with a more serious injury. If you are exceptionally tired during a run and your legs feel leaded, take a day off.

8. Periodize your training. Periodization means training in specific cycles that move towards a goal (race). Your training moves from the general to the specific and from low intensity to higher intensity as you approach your peak. This means performing your most intense work late in the season near your goal race or peak, not year round which degrades performance and may lead to injury.

Establish a 12- to 16-week base period in which you keep your intensity low, heart rate aerobic, and concentrate on strength and technique. Have a licensed running coach work with you on an annual training plan for your season.

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9. Perform strength exercises to keep your knees strong and stable, prevent muscle imbalances and improve performance. One of the more common overuse injuries is "runner's knee." This can be caused by a patella tracking problem, much like a tire that is out of alignment. By keeping your quadriceps strong you can prevent this condition. If you are an endurance runner you don't need to overwork these muscles or use a lot of weight, but light strength work performed correctly can help prevent injury.

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10. Cross train. One of the benefits that multi-sport athletes have over runners is that they are able to perform swim and cycling workouts in between run workouts. This helps reduce the stress caused by the pounding of running, but the athlete still receives the aerobic benefit of training. Cross training is good for active recovery which helps speed the recovery process.

If you use a heart rate monitor you can stay in the same heart rate zone as your run workout. Swimming, cycling, using the stepper, elliptical trainer, or even hiking are all good examples of cross-training workouts.

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