Nearly every runner has been through an injury, which makes the average non-runner believe that you simply can’t enjoy this sport without hurting yourself. As though there are no running injury prevention exercises or practices we could be doing.
It’s possibly one of the biggest running myths I spend time busting.
The truth is that most of us learn the hard way, no matter how much you love the run, if you don’t do some strength work and learn to eat right…you’ll be spending a lot of time on the sidelines.
Running injury prevention doesn’t have to take a lot of time, be overly complex or confusing!
If you made me pick just three keys:
- Running dynamic warm up – never skip it
- Include hip strength workouts in you strength routine
- Follow the injury prevention exercises below once a week
Top Running Injury Prevention Exercises
I preach doing preventative PT exercises here all the time, but I also understand no one has time to do 200 different moves every single week and fit in their marathon miles.
So in an effort to get you DOING SOMETHING, I’ve put together a list of movements that will maximize your time and help keep those hips strong, glutes firing and stride in check
- Try adding just 2 rounds of 12-15 reps, once per week.
- Once that becomes a habit, it’s time to add in another day of core work.
- Finally, you’re ready to progress to another day of full body strength training for runners!
Just like you didn’t go from 1 mile to 10 miles, no need to try and overhaul your strength training. Instead, baby steps to create habits and make it part of your routine.
This workout is going to help prevent knee pain, IT Band Pain, hip pain and shin splints!
You can see each move demonstrated in the video below.
What gear do you need?
Things can be pretty simple with at home workouts, but there are a few tools I’ve found really maximize our time:
- Mini resistance bands
- PT Therapy ball (not listed in these moves, but a key tool)
- A set of dumbbells to progress the movements
Hip Flexor Stretch – increasing hip mobility
There are a couple of methods for doing a hip flexor stretch, each providing an option for where you are, but will help to loosen your tight hips.
Single Leg Row to Press – Stabilization
It’s bizarre that we forget running is actually a single leg activity, but it is! Thus you need to learn how to stabilize your body by engaging the core to lessen your movements side to side or up and down.
Cross Lunge – IT Band
This is part of the full IT Band Matrix – changing up your lunges helps the body to function in multiple planes of motion rather than always going forward.
Donkey Kick – Glute Activation
On all four’s in a table top position, you’ll then be kicking your leg up to the air. Truly it will get things firing, which means more power in your stride.
Heel and Toe Walks – Shin Splints
Raise up on to your toes and walk forward 10 steps, then rock back on your heels and walk backwards to the starting point.
If shin splints have been an issue for you, checkout these additional shin splint exercises.
Need a better visual? Watch the video below to see each move in action
You’ll notice that the focus of these movements are hips, core and glutes. That’s intentional! Every Physical Therapist I’ve talked with says those three areas are the main causes of injury.
Additional At Home Workouts
Looking for some additional runner workouts to bookmark, try these:
- Resistance band hip workout
- Core and legs workout
- IT Band stretches
- Glute activation workout
- Stability ball workout
How Can Running Injuries Be Prevented?
Beyond these moves there are some things that we all learn with time:
- Find a training plan that works for your body – some people thrive on high mileage and some on speed
- Learn the difference between running pain and discomfort. Then stop when it’s pain!
- Always do a dynamic warm-up
- Understand when to use ice and when to use heat
- Take post workout recovery seriously
- Replace worn out shoes
- Work on your mobility
- Learn how to eat to fuel your running
Let’s touch on that last point again.
Eating right is about fueling your body pre and post run so that your muscles can fully recover from the effort. Many of us started running to lose weight and thus spent so much time focusing on calories, we didn’t realize the impact of skimping on the right foods.
What’s your favorite recovery snack?
What injury/area do you have questions about?
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Read Next: 7 Steps to Mental Recovery after Injury >>