Before you head out for your next big run, you better read this post. We all know that runners get hurt quite a bit. But I've found some pretty handy ways to prevent the pain of this sport. Including studies that show one unusual practice that can cut your risk of running injuries by as much as 39%!
Breaking Up with Worn Out Sneakers
Most people I know have one favorite pair of running shoes. They wear them every day, until they need replacing. But according to a study from researchers in Luxembourg, rotating between at least two pairs of shoes each week can drastically reduce your risk of incurring a running injury of any kind.
It sounds like a weird idea. Especially since a lot of us take time to break in our shoes and really get them comfortable. (Although, if you remember, your Houston podiatrist thinks that your shoes should fit perfectly the very first time you wear them.)
Still, the science behind rotating shoes during the week makes sense. Basically, it says that different shoes absorb the shock of running differently. So, if you wear at least two pairs of shoes each week, different parts of your body get a break every time you switch sneaks. Plus, each pair will last longer. And wearing shoes that aren't worn out is also key in preventing running injuries.
When Should You Replace Running Shoes?
As I hinted, switching between worn out sneakers won't save you from injury. But how do you know when running shoes need replacing? Well, there are a bunch of tricks you may have tried.
If you've learned you need to replace your sneakers after 300 to 500 miles, you can track your total miles on a running app. If you know you'll hit that distance every two months, you can write the start date on your sneaker's outsole. You'll know to replace your sneakers three months later.
Now, both of those running hacks can work. But they also involve planning ahead. So what do you do if you haven't been tracking your miles? Or don't remember your purchase date? And now you need to know if it's still safe to train in those shoes?
Well, here's a fun hack you can try! Put your sneakers on top of a table. Then, look at them carefully. See if the heel makes contact with the table evenly, along with the rest of your shoe. If it doesn't lay flat, or sit evenly, it's time to replace your sneakers.
But even if everything sits flat, you might not be out of the woods. Now, look at your sneaker's sole. If it looks old, or worn out, replace your sneakers. The same is true if the sole shows signs of uneven wear. (Like treads are more noticeable on the left or right side. By the way, this could also mean your feet roll when you run. And custom orthotics could help prevent running pain and injury.)
Sounds pretty simple? That's because it really is. As are the other tricks I've got for avoiding running injuries. Which I'll share with you, if you just keep on reading.
The Injury-Prevention Training Schedule for Runners
I've already told you how your shoes can help you prevent running injuries. You should rotate between two different types of sneakers. Always make sure those sneakers fit comfortably. On the first day you wear them, and every time after that.
You also need to track your sneaker's lifetime. Because shoes that need replacing are more likely to get you hurt while running. It's easy to keep track of your next replacement date from when you first buy your shoes. But you can also learn easy signs that show you when sneakers need replacing. Like the ones I told you about just a minute ago. (Hope you didn't forget already!)
But here's the deal. If you don't train smart, even the best sneakers won't stop you from getting hurt. The key to a safe running program is built-in rest days. While switching shoes helps give certain parts of your body much-needed rest time, it can't completely fight overuse injuries. To do that, you need to embrace cross-training. (Or, at the very least, switch up your cardio workouts.) Because that's the best way to reduce foot pain and injury: getting exercise while putting stress on different parts of your body thanks to different types of moves. That's the only way to really give your running muscles a break. (And to build strength in those muscles that can support your runs, but don't gain strength when you run.)
So imagine this perfect world and join me in my vision of pain-free running. Switch your shoes at least twice a week. Vary your cardio routines. And allow yourself days of rest between workouts. If you follow these simple steps, you can hopefully stave off foot pain and a requisite visit to Tanglewood Foot Specialists. But if you're hurt, or need help planning an injury-free running routine, schedule an immediate appointment in our Houston podiatrist office!