Lifelong running and exercising requires constant body maintenance to make sure you’re taking proper care of yourself.
As you start packing on the miles week after week, month after month and year after year, you need to make sure you’re doing all the little things—recovery, nutrition, strength exercises—that allow you to keep running before your body breaks down on you. Experts weighed in with their most important tips for preventing injury and keeping your body in top form.
“I’ve found that a twice-daily snack of cucumbers and walnuts along with six glasses of water a day is an excellent way to stay hydrated—it creates what’s called ‘gel water’ from cucumbers, which are extra hydrating, and you get anti-inflammatory omega-3s from the nuts, which help the joints.” —Jeremy Robinson, certified trainer, nutritionist and exercise specialist, founder of Austin Holistic Fitness
Befriend Your Foam Roller
“Foam rolling has many benefits for women, including reducing tension in the muscles and body, aiding in muscle recovery and blood flow and injury prevention. Technically known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling distributes force across soft-tissue layers in the body, which helps lengthen muscles and improve mobility. Ideally, foam rolling should be done both pre-workout and post-workout or anytime you are feeling muscle soreness or tension. Using a foam roller before exercising helps to reduce tension and gets blood flowing throughout the body; afterward, it can help aid in muscle recovery.” —Dr. Armin Tehrany, founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, honorary surgeon for the NYPD
Get Enough Shuteye
“One of the best things you can do to prevent injury and ensure you’re at the top of your training game is to get adequate sleep. Sleep is when the body recovers—during sleep, you repair micro-tears in muscle fibers, get an immune system boost, build muscle, regulate your metabolism so that you can best convert what you eat into energy, and process emotions that improve your endurance and pain tolerance.” —Ellen Wermter, nurse practitioner, Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine
Build Up Your Back End
“Our glute muscles are the powerhouse to our hips, and without good hip control, it is very easy for our knees to turn in or our arches to collapse, leading to injuries such as patellofemoral syndrome and plantar fasciitis. My favorite exercise for strengthening glute muscles is the Side Lying Straight Leg Raise.” —Mitchell Starkman, physiotherapist, The Movement Centre
Spend Time On The Wall—Doing Wall Sits, That Is
“Wall sits are the best torture you can inflict on yourself to save your knees and power you through the hills. It’s the muscles holding the kneecap in place that prevent a lot of injuries, and I do them or a version of them every other day—static 3 minutes or active (single-leg half squats) 25 reps, times 2 each leg.” —Kathrine Switzer, marathoner, author, women’s running pioneer