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Ready to Up Your Mileage? Here’s How to Avoid Common Runner’s Injuries

Every runner knows there’s no off-season — every expert runner knows that training has its seasons. There are times to push yourself, times to rest, and times in between. 

At Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, we know runners well and their injuries even better. We know how pounding the pavement trying to set a PR can wreak havoc on your feet and ankles, leaving you sidelined when you should be making gains. 

Fortunately, Dr. Maurice Aiken and our team are as passionate about treating your injuries and helping you prevent them as you are about running. Whether you’re working toward a marathon later this year or want to raise your ceiling for the long haul, we want to join your training team.

In this blog, we run through a few simple strategies you can use to increase your mileage and hurdle common injuries.

Follow the 10-15% rule

A runner’s greatest downfall is overuse injuries, like Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis, and they usually happen when you run harder, faster, and longer before you’re ready. This is especially common among new runners whose bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons haven’t yet adjusted to the repetitive stress. 

But even seasoned runners can overdo it when increasing mileage. You may have been able to clock 100 miles per week in the past, but it doesn’t always mean you can pick up where you left off. 

Regardless of your running experience, we recommend following the 10-15% rule. 

All you need is a simple formula. Take your weekly mileage goal and calculate 10-15% of that number. That percent increase is your limit. 

For example, if you want to run 60 miles every week, you should aim to increase your mileage by no more than six to nine miles every week. 

Build, then rest

In the same way, you shouldn’t run your hardest and fastest every time you lace up and shouldn’t increase your mileage every week. It’s best to increase mileage for three weeks, then back off with lower weekly mileage and easier runs in the fourth week. 

A 60-mille weekly goal might look like this:

Remember that even a couple of extra miles every week is stressful for your body, and the adage is still true: Slow and steady wins the race. 

Don’t increase everything

If increasing mileage is your goal, make that your goal and nothing else. If you try to ramp up your distance and pace, you’re heading straight for injury or burnout (or both). 

Take time to recover

Talk to any elite athlete about rest and recovery, and they’ll tell you it’s one of the most important parts of their training. Recovery for runners extends beyond the cool-down stretching and foam rolling. If you want to reach your goals and avoid injuries, you should also be sleeping well, eating a balanced diet, cross-training, and eliminating any extra stress on your body. 

Lace-up properly

You can follow our advice for injury prevention, but if your shoes are old, worn out, or not designed to handle long-distance running, your best efforts could be wasted before you even begin. 

Check your shoes today to ensure there aren’t holes or worn-down tread areas. If you’re serious about running, you need to invest in a pair of shoes that can handle what you’re up to. 

Stop and call

Injuries are sometimes a matter of when not if — even with diligent training and the right equipment. Such is the nature of a high-impact sport like running. We strongly encourage you to stop training and call our office at the first sign of pain in your feet or ankles. 

It’s better to take a few days off to deal with a minor injury than spend weeks in rehab nursing a major one. 

Looking for more guidance on foot and ankle safety? We’d love to talk with you. Call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aiken at our Dunedin, Florida, office today.

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