By Jeff Galloway
I havenít been injured in 10
years. Not once. And Iím proud of it.
I wasnít always this healthy.
Twenty years ago, I was injured a lot. But since I depend
on running to boost my mind, give me energy and melt away
stress, I worked hard over the years to become injury
These days, Iím living proof
that you donít have to accept aches and pains as you
age. You too can be injury-free after 40 years of running.
Hereís what has worked for me.
Watch your mileage. Most
runners keep their weekly mileage within a safe range most
of the time. Two or three times a year, however, many of
us get too fired up and increase the total too quickly.
This happens when we come back after a layoff.
Any sudden mileage increase
exceeding10 percent per week will increase your injury
avoid injuries as you add on the miles, take an extra day
off from running each week. Then add those extra miles to
a long-run day. By making each run longer and resting
more, you receive a better training effect, as well as
Rest every three weeks. Even if
you safely stick to no more than a 10 percent weekly
mileage buildup, your body could use a break every three
weeks. You have to stop running. But for one week, cut
back your mileage by 30 to 50 percent to reduce buildup of
your fatigue and damage.
Always warm up. Always. After a
5 minute walk, walk and jog for 5 more minutes, then jog
slowly for 5 more minutes more, so youíre basically
warming up for the first very slow mile of your run.
Transition into a faster pace with four to eight short
accelerations, walking or jogging for 1 to 2 minutes after
each one. As your legs warm up, you can increase the pace
slightly on each acceleration. By the last one, you should
be running your goal speed for the day.
Do hills before speed. If you
havenít been doing speed drills, donít suddenly run 10
hard laps around the high school track.
In fact, donít even run one lap. Instead, find a
100 to 200 meter hill and run up it three to four times
once a week for three to four weeks. During this period,
start mixing four to eight one-block accelerations into
your regular runs. Both techniques will build the strength
needed to safely complete speed sessions.
Consistantly run fast. When
youíre ready to start track work, commit yourself to it.
If you only do sporadic speed sessions, your body will
never adapt to faster running. On the other hand, doing
too much speed can also leave you prone to injuries.
Hereís the magic formula: one speed session per week.
When you do a speed session,
warm up thoroughly first. Never run all out. Be sure to
slow down or stop the session at the first sign of extreme
pain. Begin with three to five 400 meter surges. Run no
more than 5 to 7 seconds faster per quarter mile than your
5K race pace, and walk half the distance of your speed
session to recover.
Stretch at night. Many runners
make the mistake of vigorously trying to stretch out the
tightness brought on by exertion and fatigue. Problem is,
stretching a tired muscle too much can tear muscle fibers
and increase recovery time. So its best to avoid extreme
stretching immediately before and immediately after
running (one exception: gently stretching your iliotibial
band on the outside of each leg can help prevent knee
problems).If you do stretch after running, do so very
gently, and do the majority of your stretching before you
go to bed.
Keep your stride steady. Avoid
the temptation to increase stride length at the end of
long runs, races or speed sessions. This puts more
pressure on already tired muscles and doesnít accomplish
your goals. Quicker turnover of feet and legs is the key
to faster running.
For more on Jeff Galloway and
his run training techniques, log onto http://www.jeffgalloway.com/