Correcting Dangerous Distance Running Mistakes That Cause Injuries

There are some common treadmill injuries that also cross over to running outdoors, and there are dangerous ways to engage in distance running. To give you a leg up over others, we’ve compiled a list of running mistakes that we’d really want people to stop employing:

Running Alone

While much of the running culture is focused around the introspective solo aspect of running, this also makes running inherently dangerous.

Going on a run without anyone knowing where you are and no way to contact you is a recipe for disaster. As many runners work out in the early morning or after dark, the likelihood for an accident to happen increases.

Female runners, in particular, should be cautious. It can be frustrating in having to take precautions whereas male runners don’t need to, but it is necessary.

If you are going to run solo, you can:

  • Carry a phone
  • Wear an ID bracelet
  • Run on a treadmill
  • Have a set time to go out and return with check-ins
  • Run in well-lit, populated areas

Heel-striking Damage

Heel-striking while running is fairly common among runners, but it is also a source of many injuries.

Some of the most common injuries that result from heel-striking are:

  • Metatarsal (foot) stress fracture
  • Achilles strain
  • Increased pronation
  • Lower back pain
  • IT band strain

Many researchers have studied the biomechanics of running and have advised runners to change gaits to forefoot striking. While changing gaits to forefoot running will take mindfulness on the runner’s part, it will enable the runner to keep running well into their golden years.

Some things that runners can do to alter their gait are:

  • Run mindfully
  • Switch to zero-drop or minimalist shoes
  • Change strides at intervals

Terrain Injuries

Most people are creatures of habit. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since habit is likely to help runners create the exercise pattern that allows them to get up and run consistently; however, a dangerous habit many people fall into is running on the same terrain, sometimes the same path with little variation. Aside from concerns on runner burnout (the same mile loop can get old quick), there are injuries associated with running on the same terrain.

Concrete and asphalt are the main offenders when it comes to repetitive motion injuries. These flat surfaces encourages a certain amount of absent-mindedness, which will catch a runner off-guard when they come across road imperfections. Not only are you courting road rash, but if you fall incorrectly, you can be in danger of breaking bones or falling into traffic.

Even if you never take a tumble, the human body wasn’t designed to take a constant pounding against unforgiving surfaces with little to no spring. Runners who don’t want sprains, strains, and stress-fractured bones should vary their running surface every third run instead.

Some alternatives are:

  • Trail running
  • Track
  • Treadmill
  • Running in a park (on grass)

Running can be one of the best things you can do for your health at all ages. You just need to be sure that you take care and correct these dangerous habits so you can keep running for years to come.