Completing a virtual running challenge is a fantastic way to get in shape and improve your overall health, whilst receiving real, solid rewards for the effort you’re putting in to achieving your goals. However, it’s vitally important that you are aware of the risks of injury, especially if you’re new to running or if you’re returning to running after a break.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to prevent injuries whilst running, to ensure you can target longer distances and complete more challenges, earning some heavy-duty medals in the process.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common running injuries and how to prevent them. We’ll also provide some tips on how to recover from an injury if you do happen to get one.
Here are some tips on how to prevent injuries whilst running:
Warm up before you run
It might seem obvious, but you must warm up effectively to ensure your body is ready for the stress and effort of running. A good warm-up will help to prepare your body for the activity ahead and reduce your risk of injury. A dynamic warm-up is best, and should include movements that mimic the running motion, such as arm circles, leg swings, and marching. Add some jumping jacks and lunges into the mix, and you’ll be good to go.
Cool down after you run
A cool-down helps to bring your body temperature back to normal and reduce muscle soreness. Don’t immediately sit or lie down when you’ve finished running; continue to walk for a few minutes at a light pace at the end of your run to help slow your heartbeat down. Drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate and perform some static stretches to improve the flexibility of your muscles and decrease the potential for soreness.
Wear the right shoes
Trainers are one of the most important pieces of equipment for runners. Make sure you choose shoes that fit well and provide good support for your type of feet. A good sportswear shop will help you to find the correct type of shoes for your type of running impact, but you can find more information on choosing the right gear for running here.
Increase your mileage gradually
Don’t try to increase your mileage too quickly. Start with a few short runs each week and gradually increase the distance and frequency of your runs as you get stronger. The Fitwins virtual running challenges are set to complete within a month, which is plenty of time to build up to substantial distances while adding to your target goals.
Listen to your body
If you’re running an intense daily 10 mile regime, you may experience muscle soreness, but if you’re feeling any new or unusual pain, then stop running and take a rest. Don’t try to push through the pain, as this could make your injury worse.
Cross-training is a great way to help prevent injuries. By doing other activities that are less impactful on your body, such as swimming or cycling, you can give your joints and muscles a break from running whilst keeping up your exercise regime. Did you know there’s a virtual cycling challenge available from Fitwins? Why not mix up your exercise routine whilst smashing two different challenges and earn yourself two amazing medals in the process?
Strength training can help to strengthen your muscles and bones, which can help to prevent injuries. Focus on exercises that target your core, glutes, and hamstrings, which will aid your progress toward achieving longer distances, and faster.
Eat a healthy diet
As with many different health and fitness pieces of advice, the key here is that to fully maximise on the effort you’re putting in, you need to ensure you’re following a good diet. Eating a healthy diet will give your body the nutrients it needs to repair and recover from exercise. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may want to add supplements like Essential Amino Acids, which can help to encourage muscle growth and recovery.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for recovery, both mentally and physically. Your body uses your sleep time to repair itself and recover, so if possible, make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Take care of your feet
Feet are often neglected, but they’re obviously very important for runners. Make sure to wash and dry your feet regularly, and wear clean socks each time you exercise.
The Fitwins virtual running challenge is intended to be a fun way of hitting your fitness goals and keeping motivated, while bringing a sense of community to your exercise and providing you with tangible rewards that you can keep forever as a memento of your achievements. It won’t help you to achieve your goals if you’re injured, so look after yourself, take care and stay safe as you run your way to personal glory.
The Fitwins challenges are available to tackle for free, so why not download the app for Android or Apple devices, register for the current challenge and give it a go? You can always upgrade to a medal entry challenge at any time, for as little as £9 (when you refer a friend to join you on your journey, you will both receive half price entry).