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Tips to Running Injury Free from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

October 16, 2012

Guest Blogger Caroline Bradley, PT, DPT, CSCS, Sports Medicine Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta


Hello, Runners! Training for a 5K is a fun and exciting time, but it is not only about running. Staying healthy and keeping your muscles strong and flexible will help decrease your risk of injury with increased exercise and increased miles.

It is important to warm your muscles up before you ask them to work. Try to avoid jumping up and going for a run without actively stretching first. A dynamic warm up means you are moving as you stretch and loosen up your muscles so they are prepared to run. Examples of a dynamic warm up can be found here.

During your run, be sure to listen to your body. If you have minor aches, try walking for a little while, grab some water and try to run again. If the discomfort turns to pain or makes you feel like you need to stop, that is a possible sign of injury and you should try putting ice on the affected area for 10-20 minutes to help with the pain.

Regular training is one of the keys to a successful race, but it is possible to over train. The total distance you run in one week should not increase by more than 10% the following week, or you are putting yourself at increased risk for injury. Also, try to avoid doing long runs on back-to-back days. It is a good idea to cross train on days that you do not run.  Some examples of cross training include riding your bike, swimming or rollerblading. If you are having pain with running, you may need to take some active rest days where you do some activity other than running that does not cause pain.

After your run is a good time to perform static stretches for muscles that are tight. These stretches are where you hold the position for a good 30 seconds to allow proper muscle relaxation and elongation. Usually doing about 2-3 stretches of each muscle for 30 seconds is recommended. For more on static and dynamic stretches, click here (page 8) or read more at choa.org/running.

Hopefully you have learned some good training tips to help you not only become a better runner, but also to be healthier and able to run without pain or injury!

Have some running questions? Come to the Girls on the Run Fall 5K on November 11th and look for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Table at the Race-Day Expo. Talk to the Sports Medicine Team about injury prevention, stretching and more. 

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