Again, making simple, unintentional mistakes is the most common way for runners to derail their programs. Such runners can be categorized into two major groups. The first type adopts the philosophy that “more is better” and builds his mileage too rapidly, thus suffering breakdown and/or injury.
Individuals in the second group are very inconsistent in their training and may miss several workouts in a row. Then, when they recognize that they are behind in their training, they'll add on additional miles in an effort to catch up. Neither approach will help you to become a successful runner.
One of the greatest challenges of running is to remain injury-free. Although some runners may wear their injuries like a badge of honor, more injuries come from not properly training than from getting hurt on the course. Just as there are different types of runners, there are many types of injuries and treatments.
If you suspect you may have an injury, begin a preventive rehabilitation program to keep the damage to a minimum. Depending on the type of injury, this might mean using ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, and above all, resting for a day or two to allow the injury to heal. Should you experience a minor injury while running, apply RICE:
R = Rest
I = Ice
C = Compress
E = Elevation
If there's swelling or pain, take an anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. If your injury doesn't respond to self-treatment in a couple of days, see a doctor.
Beginning runners often underestimate the value of stretching. Stretching is one of the most effective means of avoiding injury and increasing performance and stamina. However, don't stretch a cold muscle before you exercise. It's much safer to stretch after your workout. If a person really wants to stretch beforehand, she should do some brisk walking or a slow 10-minute jog and then stretch. The necessity and benefit of stretching regularly as part of your workout routine cannot be overemphasized.
Utilize Recovery Techniques
There are several therapeutic measures you can take to recover from stressful workouts or from the cumulative effects of hard training over a long period of time. Massage therapy, for example, feels great after a long run, a hard race, and/or weeks of heavy training. Another therapeutic technique is pouring cold water on fatigued legs after a race or long workout. You can also try soaking your legs in a whirlpool of warm water (approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit) a couple of hours after working out. Something as simple as taking a walk or going for an easy bike ride a couple of hours after a hard workout can also work wonders for tired legs.