While there's no silver bullet for injury prevention, adhering to these tips will give you a leg up on keeping your legs healthy as you approach race day.
Don't ignore strength training.1 of 8
Strength training is a great way to prevent injuries or nip seemingly small, nagging injuries in the bud. Often, the source of the pain isn't the problem area that actually caused the injury. Instead, the surrounding muscles simply were not properly conditioned. For example, weak hips and glutes can lead to a myriad of lower leg issues.
Find a physical therapist or a coach who specializes in working with runners and implement the suggested exercises into your regular workout routine.
Get a massage!2 of 8
One of the perks of working hard to reach your goals is the ability to use massage as a necessary tool rather than just a guilty pleasure. Massage can help increase blood flow to your legs and break down scar tissue. In fact, a massage is a great way to stop an otherwise impending injury in its tracks.
Give up some blood.3 of 8
While no one really enjoys having blood drawn, a blood test is a useful method for examining potential deficiencies that could lead to an injury. Anemia can cause fatigue and create a breakdown in your running form—one that would ultimately lead to injury.
Stop running.4 of 8
As soon as you feel mid-run pain, stop! There's no benefit to pushing through an apparent injury. The most important thing you can do as a runner is pay attention to your body. You will usually know the difference between an injury and typical fatigue. If you can't quite decipher the discomfort, stop, stretch and start running again—or simply adjust your pace. If pain persists, shut it down.
Take a load off.5 of 8
If you feel that a pain is leading to injury, switch to non-weight bearing activities for a few days. While some may tell you to begin the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) as soon as possible, some studies are showing that it may not be the best for soft tissue damage. In fact, the creator of R.I.C.E., Dr. Gabe Mirkin, even recommends physical therapy over rest and ice in some instances.
Stick with premium fuel.6 of 8
While running through the summer months, it's important to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet. Loss of minerals through sweat can cause dehydration and lead to cramping. In addition, our bodies need the vitamins and minerals provided by a healthy diet to further stave off illness and injury.
Keep your shoes fresh.7 of 8
Make sure your shoes are in good shape to keep adding those miles. Worn down kicks can change how your body impacts the road and can most definitely lead to injury. If your shoes feel less springy and look worn on the bottoms, it's time to go shopping.