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Safety and Injury Prevention for Runners

Running is an excellent way to stay fit, relieve stress, and spend time outdoors. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned strider, these guidelines will help keep you safe and healthy for many miles to come.

Avoid Injury

The majority of running injuries occur from training too much and overuse, increasing mileage or pace too quickly, and improper stretching. These tips can help you to avoid injuries:

If you feel pain, stop. If pain continues when you run, rest the affected area for up to 3 days.

Should you stretch before running? This is actually a controversial issue. Some fitness experts do recommend stretching, while others say that the evidence is not there to support the idea that stretching reduces injury. If you are interested in stretching, make sure that you learn the proper form for each stretch. A fitness trainer can teach you how to stretch your muscles.

Stay Hydrated

Regardless of the temperature, you need to replace fluids to avoid dehydration.

Be Prepared

Prepare yourself for various obstacles out on the streets:

Do Not Be an Easy Target

Many people enjoy the solitude of running. If you are one of them, take a few extra safety precautions:

Dress Appropriately for the Temperature

Don't let weather keep you from an outdoor run. Just be sure you're prepared to face the elements.

In cold weather :

In hot weather:

Stay Safe When Traveling, Too

The beauty of running is that you can do it anywhere. When you are traveling, follow these guidelines:

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

Road Runners Club of America
http://www.rrca.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Athletics Canada
http://www.acroad.ca

Running Room Online
https://www.runningroom.com

REFERENCES:

Cold weather running tips. Road Runners Club of America website. Available at: http://www.rrca.org/education/cold-weather-running-tips. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Hot weather running tips. Road Runners Club of America website. Available at: http://www.rrca.org/education/hot-weather-running-tips. Accessed March 14, 2017.

How much fluid should I drink during endurance events? Association of International Marathons and Distance Races website. Available at: http://www.aims-worldrunning.org/guidelines_fluid_replacement.htm. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Pereles D. Stretching before a run does not prevent injury. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos-annualmeeting-presskit.org/2011/clinicalpressreleases/Stretching_Before.html. Accessed March 14, 2017.

RRCA general running safety tips. Road Runners Club of America website. Available at: http://www.rrca.org/education/rrca-general-running-safety-tips. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Running: Preventing overuse injuries. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/running-preventing-overuse-injuries. Updated May 2014. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Running shoe life. Net Wellness website. Available at: http://www.netwellness.uc.edu/healthtopics/healthyweight/Runningshoelife.cfm. Updated July 23, 2014. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Selecting and effectively using sports drinks, carbohydrate gels, and energy bars. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-sports-drinks-carbohydrate-gels-and-energy-bars.pdf. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Tips for a safe running program. Ortho Info——American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00132. Updated July 2011. Accessed March 14, 2017.

Last reviewed March 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP  Last Updated: 3/14/2017