by Bethany Million March 31, 2022

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If you are interested or just getting started running, it is important to know that there are a panoply of common running injuries that can sideline you for quite a while.

Because running injuries occur so frequently, it is important to understand how to protect yourself while running so that you can do your best to ward off sprains, swelling and other affronts to your health.

Whether you are a novice or seasoned runner, here are five tips for protecting yourself while running.

How to Protect Yourself While Running: Five Success Strategies

While there are many ways to protect yourself while running (such as downloading a run tracker to inform your loved ones of your location), some of our favorite injury-prevention tactics include:

1. Stay Loose and Limber

One of the most basic yet critical tips for staving off potential injuries is to increase your body's flexibility and limberness. The more flexible you are, the greater range of motion you will have, thereby helping to make you less likely to suffer accidents and injuries.

There are a variety of essential stretches for runners that will boost your bendability and help protect you while running.

2. Wear Proper Footwear

The first piece of running equipment you should invest in is a good pair of running shoes. Thankfully, there are a panoply of them on the market today, so you are sure to find a pair that fits your budget, style and feet.

When gauging the fit of running shoes, they should feel snug in the heel with a bit of wiggle room in the toe box. To ensure a proper fit, it is wise to go and get a pair at your local running store to make sure you aren’t wearing the wrong running shoes.

kneeling tying shoe laces

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Do keep in mind that running shoes have a lifespan and will need to be replaced about every six months or 400 to 600 miles.

3. Avoid Overtraining

A large chunk of running injuries are the result of overtraining. This could be caused by pushing too intensely, too far or both. Therefore, it is critical to remember to slowly increase your intensity or mileage and not go too hard.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t increase mileage more than 10 percent per week.

4. Listen to Your Body

If you are feeling sluggish, run down or are noticing that something is starting to feel off, it is advisable to skip training for a day or two. Your body is telling you something and it is important to listen to its needs.

This is particularly important for those with medical conditions. Additionally, if you fall into this category, it is critical to always wear a medical ID bracelet when out running, in case something unexpected happens.

At the same time, rest and recovery are also critical parts of improving overall performance and should not be discounted.

5. Employ Injury Prevention Tools

While you don’t need tons of expensive gadgets to get into running, there are a few simple tools that will help protect you from injury while running.

The first of which is a foam roller. Foam rollers are self-massaging tools that can help to increase your flexibility and aid in recovery. Best of all is that foam rollers can be used daily.

man using foam roller

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The next tool is a medicine ball, which is extremely useful for building strength in your legs, core and elsewhere. Additionally, medicine balls come in a variety of difficulty levels.

Finally, exercise bands are great for stretching and making bodyweight exercises more challenging, thus enhancing strength and flexibility.

Guarding Against Running Injuries

While understanding how to protect yourself is not complicated, it does require dedication to integrate the necessary tactics and tools into your routine. Assuming that you do, you will be far less likely to sustain a running injury and will be able to run for more days out of the year.