Gearing up for the Gate: Avoiding common injuries

Gate River Run 15K coming March 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The largest 15K in the country is coming up on March 10, and if you're training to run, the last thing you want is for an injury to stop you. Erin Dankworth, with First Coast YMCA, breaks down the most common injuries for runners and ways to avoid them. 

According to the New York Times, nearly 80 percent of runners are injured each year. Most injuries are due to running too much, or sudden changes in training volume.

One common injury for runners is runner’s knee. You'll feel a tender pain around or behind the kneecap. If that happens, try to run on softer surfaces when possible.

A painful injury that could cause long-term damage is shin splints. The pain is caused by overuse along the shinbone.

The IT band, or the iliotibial band, is a ligament that stretches from your pelvis to your shin along the outside of your thigh. It helps to stabilize your knee when you run. If it becomes too tight, you might feel a nagging knee pain.

Plantar fasciitis is another concern. It can occur when a fibrous band of tissue in the sole of your foot that stretches from your heel to your toes, called the fascia, tears, cause inflammation and intense heel pain.

There are some ways to prevent injuries. Stretching is very important when it comes to prevention of injuries. Here are some tips and strategies.

  • Foam Roller/Buda Stretch (IT Band)
  • Tennis Ball (Plantar)
  • Standing Hamstring Stretch (Hamstrings)
  • Wall Stretch (Medial tibial stress syndrome or shin splints)
  • Build mileage gradually 
  • Stretching 
  •  Stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet 
  • Warm up and cool down before and after all runs and race
  • Ice treatment—a maximum of 20 minutes depending on the area
  • Practice run before the big day 
  • Johnson YMCA Celebrate Life 5K is coming up Saturday, March 3 at 8 a.m. It's the only 5K on Jacksonville’s Northside.  You can sign up by visiting First Coast YMCA.

    The YMCA also offers free Gate River Run training programs.  They are open to members and non-members.

    About the Author: