Running does, however, reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes, increase bone density and even boost brain power. To enjoy these benefits, it certainly pays to be a runner for life. With just a few preventive measures, you can stay healthy and run for years to come.
Run1 of 6
The most important way to be a lifelong runner is to run consistently. With continued running, you prevent weight gain and become a more economical and better runner.
Make running a part of who you are rather than something you do, and you'll never have to worry about fitting it in. If you're pressed for time, run for just 15 minutes. To prevent boredom, change the places you run.
Shoes2 of 6
Wearing the right shoes for your foot type and running mechanics can prevent many injuries, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Running shoes have specific combinations of support and stability that are distinct from other shoes.
If you have flat feet that roll inward (pronate) excessively when they land, try stability or motion-control shoes, which prevent your feet from rolling inward. For high arches, try cushioning shoes, which are softer and support the natural inward rolling motion of your feet. To know if you pronate, wet your feet and walk across a surface that leaves a footprint. Excessive pronators will leave a footprint of the whole foot. If you have high arches, you'll see a large curved space on the inside of your footprint. Replace shoes every 300 to 400 miles before they lose their shock-absorbing abilities so the forces encountered while running are not transmitted to your bones.
Proper Training3 of 6
Sixty percent of running injuries, including tendonitis and stress fractures, result from doing too much too soon. Increase the length and intensity of your runs by no more than 10 percent per week and back off on the volume by a third for one week every few weeks to allow your body to adapt to the training, recover from the training stress and stay injury free.
Start with increasing your running mileage before adding speed work. Slowly add one day of speed work to your program, then add a second day. Make sure you decrease the volume while increasing the intensity.
Surface4 of 6
Running on soft surfaces, like grass or dirt trails, lessens the impact on the body compared to sidewalks, because less force is transmitted to the bones and tendons. Stay away from running in the gutter on roads that are cambered for water drainage, which increase the rolling inward motion of your ankles and can cause Achilles tendonitis.
Hit some park trails. For faster running sessions, go to a local high school track.
Strength Training5 of 6
Muscle strength imbalances, like those between quadriceps and hamstrings and between calves and the muscles on the front of your shin, can lead to muscle and tendon injuries. Attend to these imbalances by strengthening your weaker muscles. Many runners can get rid of knee pain by strengthening their quadriceps.
Do three sets of 20 reps each of squats, calf raises off the end of a step and hip abduction exercises, which will make the muscles stronger and help stabilize your joints.