A transportation executive by profession, Michael Vasaturo serves as the vice president of Connecticut’s New Haven Terminal. In his personal time, Michael Vasaturo is an avid runner.
To avoid injury, the runner must first ensure that he or she is well prepared for the workout. Experts recommend a warmup of 3 to 5 minutes of relaxed walking and 5 minutes of alternating running and walking. Deep stretching should not be a part of this warmup, as the muscles are not yet ready for such demands.
This gradual approach should extend to the runner’s overall training plan as well. Many runners push themselves into a rigorous routine and over-stress various muscles and joints, which can then suffer serious damage. Many runners benefit from limiting mileage increases to 10 percent per week, which can provide a challenge without risking overwork, and from limiting speed increases to 30 seconds per mile above race pace.
Even when following a moderate plan, however, runners must be on guard against potential problems. Most running injuries come on gradually and make themselves known through pain and soreness. A runner that notices such signals can benefit from taking three days off, then restarting with a slower-paced workout to ensure that the pain is indeed gone. If not, another break may be in order.
If pain persists or comes back, the runner may wish to examine his or her technique. Many runners cause themselves pain by using a stride that is too long, which can create excess impact on the feet. A stride that is just 10 percent shorter can reduce impact and mitigate the risk of injury. The runner should also assess whether he or she is leaning too far forward and adapt by returning to an upright posture, which supports a natural gait.