As Spring slowly descends on Central Oregon, many of us will be putting up our skis and snowshoes and dusting off our running shoes as the streets and trails start to dry out. Though unprepared runners do bring us steady business, we would like to do our part to help you avoid seeing us in the rehab setting. So this month’s article focuses on a bit of “prehab” advice.

Law 1: Increase Mileage Gradually- No more than 10 to 20 percent a week

Law 2: Increase Intensity Gradually- Intense workouts (hills, intervals, tempo runs) should make up no more than 20% of your training. Never add more than one of these elements to your training at a time.

Law 3: Increase Mileage Before Speed- By building a base of solid mileage at a slower, steady speed, you prepare your body to handle the stresses of faster workouts to come.

Law 4: Alternate Hard Efforts with Rest- Studies have shown that the number of consecutive training days directly correlates to the incidence of injury

Law 5: Pay Attention to Early Warning Signs- Your body generally will send warning signals before an injury manifest itself fully. Running through pain is not a good idea—listen to your body!

Law 6: Wear the Right Running Shoes- The right shoe for your foot type will minimize your biomechanical abnormalities whereas the wrong shoe can exacerbate such problems. Spend the extra money to be fit by a knowledgeable shoe retailer.

Law 7: Mix It Up-Cross-Train! Consider biking, swimming, elipticle trainer, stair master, etc. on alternating training days. Take a couple of days off per week.

Law 8: Increase Your Flexibility and Strength- Consider dynamic stretching (holding stretches 1-3 seconds for 5-10 reps) prior to running and static stretching (holding stretches 20-30 seconds for 2-3 reps) afterwards. Strength training in the gym should focus on all lower body and core muscles and include balance activities 2-3x/week.

Law 9: Vary Your Workouts and Terrain- Too much of one thing is not a wise running plan (ie: running hills everyday will likely put a quick end to your training)

Law 10: Fuel Properly- What you eat and drink can affect your injury risk. (Protein = muscle repair, Calcium = bone density, Water = decrease risk of strains and tears)

Running is a convenient form of exercise and can be a good way to increase cardiovascular health and bone density. However, it can also lead to numerous injuries if you are not careful. Take the above advice and try to avoid us if you can. But if not, we are happy to help you return to action.