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  • Faith Joy Solum

10 Common Running/Rucking Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Hey there, fellow running or rucking enthusiast! Are you ready to hit the road or trail and crush your fitness goals? Of course, you are! But before you lace up those sneakers and head out the door, let's talk about something important: preventing running injuries.

I was talking with a friend the other day about exercise-related injuries and the idea for the blog article was sparked. We've all been there – you're in the zone, feeling the rhythm of your stride, when suddenly, bam! Pain strikes, and your forward motion comes screeching to a halt. It's devastating and frustrating and...well...painful!

My hip injury kept me from finishing longer events for about 3 years. We'll talk more about rehabing injuries in another blog article. Let's start with how to recognize and prevent them in the first place. With a little know-how and some expert tips, we can all keep those injuries at bay and stay on track with our training. Let's dive in!

The Lowdown on Running/Rucking Injuries: What You Need to Know

First things first, let's talk about the enemy – common running and rucking injuries. From runner's knee to shin splints, these pesky ailments can put a serious damper on your training if you're not careful. But don't worry, we've got your back! Here's a quick rundown of the most common culprits and what to look out for:

  1. Runner's Knee: Dull pain around the front of the knee.

  2. IT Band Syndrome: Aching or burning pain on the outside of the knee.

  3. Shin Splints: Pain at the front or inner-facing portion of your lower legs.

  4. Plantar Fasciitis: Pain at or near the bottom of the heel.

  5. Achilles Tendinitis: Pain in the lower leg above the heel.

  6. Stress Fracture: Pain or aching in the shin or foot.

  7. Muscle Pull: Muscle pain from a small tear in your muscle.

  8. Ankle Sprain: Ankle pain from stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle.

  9. Blisters: Painful fluid-filled sacks on the skin (gross).

  10. Temperature-related injuries: Sunburn, heat exhaustion, frostbite, hypothermia.

Prevention is Key: The Do's and Don'ts to Keep You Going

Now that you know what you're up against, let's talk prevention! We're not medical professionals, but we research what the top doctors are saying to bring you eight expert-approved tips for keeping those injuries at bay.

Here's 10 things you need to know:

  1. Do - Have a Plan and Progress Slowly: Increase your mileage gradually to avoid overtaxing your muscles and joints.

  2. Don't - Overdo It: Take rest days to give your muscles time to recover. Easy walks, yoga, and stretching are all great to stay limber on rest days. Your muscles don't get stronger when they're being used. They get stronger when they're resting (because your body is healing them).

  3. Don't - Increase Speed and Distance at the Same Time: Focus on one or the other to avoid pushing yourself too hard.

  4. Do - Give Your Muscles Time to Recover: Proper rest and recovery are key to preventing overuse injuries. If you're doing 2-a-day workouts, build in rest days.

  5. Do - Know the Difference Between Soreness and Pain: Listen to your body and don't ignore sharp or lingering pain.

  6. Do - Make Time for Cross-training: Strengthen supporting muscles with weight training or yoga.

  7. Do - Invest in Quality Shoes: Proper footwear can make all the difference. I use Altra shoes, but go try several brands on and see how they feel. Some running stores can analyze your foot structure to get you the right gear to keep you grinding.

  8. Do - Stretch, Stretch, Stretch: Warm up before your run or ruck and cool down afterward to keep your muscles flexible.

  9. Do - Take Extra Care If You Suffer from Arthritis: Respect your joints and listen to your body's signals.

  10. Do - Wear Good Socks: This not-so-often talked about tip is critical to keeping those painful blisters at bay. I like Darn Tough (they have an awesome warranty) and Feetures. Both keep my feet padded during those long miles.

And there you have it, folks – your ultimate guide to preventing common running and rucking injuries! With the right knowledge and a little bit of TLC, you can keep pounding the pavement for years to come. So lace up those shoes, hit the trails, and remember: the only thing better than a good run or ruck is a pain-free one!

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