What are some common ways that people get injured and what can we do to prevent these things happening!?!
(Most of these tips I discovered by making these mistakes myself, eek!)
1. Doing too much fast running - Just because your lungs have gotten used to running quicker does not mean your body has. The lungs (and the brain) get in shape pretty quickly but our muscular skeletal system does not! So, we may feel ready to do lightening speed intervals every day, it is the fastest road to injury. There are Kenyans who run marathons faster than 5:00/mile and train at 8:00/mile on easy days- think about it! There is a time and a pace for pushing it, and it is not every day of the week. Hard runs should include warm-up and cool-downs, and followed by recovery days, they are also typically after an easy day of running.
***Most running should be done at a comfortable (and talk-able) pace :) So bring a friend, and have a nice chat!
2. Stepping up mileage too quickly and adding in other elements too soon-
You should step up your mileage moderately and take a step-down week in mileage every few weeks. When increasing mileage you should not be increasing other things like hills, intervals, speed of your runs overall, etc. One change at a time folks :)
3. Old shoes. Yes, I know you love the shoes you've worn for three years, but any step up in mileage and you are bound to feel the pain, my friends. Try and get to a running store and get your gait analyzed or go over to this link, they will evaluate a gait video free... http://www.runningwarehouse.com/LearningCenter/gaitanalysis.html
*Once you are consistently running it is very important to have the right kind of shoes, this site will tell you their recommendations too*
4. Training at paces you are not ready for is a no-no. Do not base your paces off of your dream time for the 5k, base it off of where you are now... OR until an actual race performance proves you are ready.You may think pushing it in all your runs will get you there.
Some great sources for picking paces are: -http://www.runbayou.com/jackd.htm
**Mcmillan's site also has videos of the different kinds of running he has listed with paces so you can find nice explanations there !
**You will find the websites paces vary a little. I find the top link to be better with people who favor longer distance races and the lower for speedsters, who like shorter races, but it is up to you!!!
5. Another tip that is pretty simple is vary the surfaces you run on. It is good to run on asphalt sometimes if you are going to race on it, but do not do it all of the time. Grass can be great to run on unless you have issues with your ankles. Also, it is nice to go for an easy run on a dirt path or road, or gravel. Varying the terrain you run on may also help with boredom :)
6. Once people get into running they can sometimes leave cross-training behind but it is still a vital part of training. Going for a walk, swimming, skiing, lifting weights, etc. keep your other muscles strong. Training other muscles can balance your body out and prevent overuse injuries.
6. This last tip kind of encompasses the other items I have listed here... but I think it's really important to note again, there is a time and place for everything. You should not do hill training when you are not ready for it, this training can really be detrimental at the wrong time, and if done incorrectly. Intervals can be less effective and lead to injury pretty quickly as well. It is never a good idea to look at what your friends are doing in their training and copy-cat them. It is easy to look at someone's training and for example say 'Wow, they are really fast, and sprinting uphill, I should try that!' Do not cave and do it. You should only do what you are ready for.
I know this was long-winded, but hopefully you've picked up some helpful hints on staying injury free for running ! :)