Five tips to improve your running without getting injured

It can be a tricky balance to improve your distance running while battling nagging aches and pains, but it can be achieved.
Here are five tips to improve your running without getting injured:
* Quality, not quantity – If you are experiencing minor discomforts that come with distance running, such as shin splits, knee pain or IT band issues, then run a little less. Perhaps just do three runs a week instead of four or five. Take those runs with lots of intensity, and then allow for added rest time.
* Stretch out your training program – If you were on a 15-week training program to run a 10K or marathon, but are dealing with some minor injuries, then stretch it out to 20 weeks. Take your time in the beginning to build up your base.
* Cross-train – Get cardio workouts in other ways, such as swimming or an elliptical machine, that are less demanding on your joints.
* Scale back mileage – Every third week or so reduce the mileage you run by half. You’ll still maintain the level you’re at, but it’s always good to give the body a bit of a break. You can’t always push it to the brink and by backing off now and then you should come back stronger for the next big run.
* Run on a treadmill – A treadmill can provide an excellent way to put in lots of mileage and it also offers a safer, less rigorous landing for your body.
It is considerably easier on the joints than running on pavement.
Many marathoners actually put in a good part of their training on treadmills.
If pain intensifies or becomes chronic then seek medical advice.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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