Running injury prevention programs are built into normal running routines to help runners prevent a myriad of injuries and re-injuries—like IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and overuse injuries. Because some of the most common factors that lead to injury are muscle weakness, lack of flexibility, training errors, poor mechanics, and wearing the wrong shoes, these structured programs often involve a professional shoe fitting, gait analysis and re-training, stretching exercises, weight training, and cross training.
Running injury prevention programs stress the importance of consistent training, with strategic and progressive increases—no more than five to ten percent week to week—in exercise frequency, duration, distance, and intensity to prevent injury. Regular exercise that also provides your body enough time to adapt to variation and increases in your training—particularly for beginning runners or runners rehabilitating from injury—allows your muscles and your aerobic capacity to develop at the same pace.
Running injury prevention programs also aim to increase your body awareness—and how you respond to your body’s signals. It’s crucial to not only listen to your body, but take action based on what you feel. Aches and pains indicate that you need to temporarily take days off, or scale back or change up your runs; once you’re pain-free, you can ease back into your regular routine.