9 Tips to Protect Your Joints to Help You Run Longer Distances
- Take at least one or perhaps two rest days per week. Resting after each run allows your joints to recover the proper way. This gives your joints time to recoup from the amount impact forces they endure when running. Depending on how experienced and physically fit you are, you may need to rest anywhere from two to three days per week. Your body will adapt during the recovery phase. If you try to run too much without resting, you may run into inflammatory and chronic pains such as Runner's Knee.
- Train in two- to three-day cycles, with a rest or recovery workout in between cycles. Working out and going on a run ever other day allows your body to fully recover without risking injury—as mentioned earlier. Once your body has adapted to this routine, you can begin to increase the distance and intensity of your runs.
- Change your running shoes frequently and only use them for running. Many runners tend to wear their shoes beyond wear and tear and don't realize that it's time to change shoes. It may seem like an expensive routine to change your shoes often(somewhere around 400 miles), but it's much better to make frequent trips to the shoe store than the doctors office. When purchasing your running shoes, make sure that these are only used for running in order prolong your shoes.
- Consider taking the supplements Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine. Taking these two supplements together has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation for those with knee pain. Chondroitin will help reduce swelling, while Glucosamine helps regenerate cartilage. When your knee joints start to lose cartilage, it can become very painful to do even the slightest movements such as bending and walking. So if you're looking to prolong the health of your knees, it'd be a wise decision to start taking these supplements as a part of your daily routine.(1. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996)
- Increase your volume of endurance training by less than 10 percent per week. When it comes to increasing your performance, it's important not to drastically increase your running time and intensity too soon—doing too much increases your chances of having an overuse injury. But if you increase at a gradual rate, your body will adapt to these incremental increases. So whatever you do, don't listen to Drake by going "0-100 real quick" or you'll end up placing too much stress and start to break down your muscles and joints.
- Listen to your body. Whenever going on a run or working out, it's always best to listen to your body when feeling any aching or nagging pain. If you start to feel this type of pain, stop or slow down, allow your body to rest and regain energy without risking injury.
- Periodize your training. Competitive runners who are looking to reduce their race times should periodize their training to maximize their results.If you're athlete you understand that periodizing your training essentially means to change up the cycle of your training routine specific to a certain goal you're trying to reach, which usually means intensifying your runs as you near a race in order to reach peak performance. If you're training at 110% year round, you could ultimately degrade your performance and run into many overuse injuries.
- Use resistance training exercises to keep your knees strong and stable, prevent muscle imbalances and improve performance. Runner's Knee is one of the most common injuries runner's encounter. This injury occurs when the patellar tendon is not tracking properly when the knee goes through its range of motion when running. One way to prevent and correct this injury is to strengthen your quadriceps. Heavy lifting is not required as simple squats and quad sets can be sufficient enough to strengthen a runner's quad.
- Cross train. Include a variety of activities in your exercise program to minimize the risk of overuse injuries. Cross-training is a great way to increase strength and performance in different parts of your body that running normally doesn't enhance, such as swimming or cycling in between runs in order to prevent repetitive exercises which can lead to injuring your joints. It's great for those that have a hard time "resting" and "recovering" because they feel like they're not improving, so taking on swimming is a great way to actively recover as your are not pounding on your joints, especially knees, when swimming.
Before you leave, it's important to know that the information provided was gathered from resources outside of Enerskin. We highly recommend consulting with your physician and/or doctor before proceeded with these tips.
1. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996). Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28:1327-1330.