Running regularly with improper footwear or incorrect form can prompt a variety of health concerns. Aside from leg pain, conditions like plantar fasciitis may develop which causes severe heel pain and can put a damper on your fitness routine. Despite these risks, running is a good form of exercise. Jogging regularly has been shown to help with weight loss goals, improve heart health and even extend your life expectancy, but you don’t want to be in pain as a result of it. Running injury free requires the right gear and approach.
There are two equally important components to remaining injury-free as you run: the right running shoes and proper form.
The Perfect Form
When you are running it can be easy to begin slouching or let your body weight hang, but this can both cause you an injury and prevent you from getting the most out of your workout. When running, your eyes should be looking forward—not at the ground. Your entire body should be squared in the direction that you are running. If you find that you are slanting to one side with one shoulder pointing you along the sidewalk then you are better off walking until you can compose yourself.
There is a lot of debate among runners as to how your feet should hit the ground. If you land on your heel then you will stretch your calf muscles and put less stress on your Achilles tendon, but this also contributes to over-striding and can really slow you down. When you land with your toes you are reducing the stress on your knees and ankles, but you are also increasing your risk for injuries like shin splints and pulled muscles.
Landing mid-foot is often a recommended compromise. When you hit the ground with the middle of your foot you are dissipating the weight of your body throughout your entire foot, instead of just one end. This provides better shock absorption and leads to an overall better running form, also permitting for a quicker pace.
The Right Shoes
There are different styles of running shoes for every type of athlete. When you are purchasing a pair it is best to find a shoe that compliments your form. While some shoes will offer a lot of cushioning that will help with shock absorption, other shoes are slim and don’t add much weight to your strides.
Remember that your feet swell throughout the day, and throughout your run. It is a good idea to try on sneakers at the end of the day so that you don’t get a pair that is too small. Also, remember to bring workout socks with you to the store. Shopping for sneakers with thin pads on your feet won’t give you a correct idea of sizing.
If you plan on running in the sand in Delray Beach or Boca Raton then you need to find sturdy footwear made of material that will allow your feet to breathe. There are a lot of sneakers that are designed for beach running, and those types of shoes are not always right for the sidewalk. Different sneakers for different terrains may be your best bet.
For injury free running, your running shoes should have solid arch support and should remain stable on your foot while you are running. If your foot is sliding around in your shoe or you are running without any support then you may increase your risk of an injury.