How to Prevent Running’s Overuse Injuries: 8 Simple “Little Things” That Work (and a giveaway!)

by Jason Fitzgerald

Do you do the “little things” that keep you healthy? If you’re the average runner, you don’t – and you’re probably injured.

Running Overuse Injuries

Preventing overuse injuries is more about what you do when you’re not running. The crucial time right before and after your run are key times to take care of your body. But most runners ignore this time and only run.

They’re missing a HUGE opportunity to stay healthy, run more, and reach more of their goals. Consistency is the key to success in running, so injury prevention and consistent training should be a focus of your training.

I used to skip these two crucial windows…

Five years ago – the “dark days” of my running when I was always hurt – I would come back from work, change into my running gear, and my roommate and I would go for our evening run. Whether it was a workout or easy run, we had the same routine. Work, run, and then eat dinner.

When the run was over, we’d change into dry clothes, get some water, and start cooking. After an hour we were ready to eat and sat in the living room around the coffee table with our other roommates (c’mon, it was a bachelor pad, nobody used the kitchen table!). After too much TV, I went to bed and averaged about 6.5 – 7 hours per night.

And that was it. Do you see the problems with this routine?

If not, let me present eight simple “little things” that you can do before or after your run to keep you healthy.

But first, what’s a running overuse injury?

Overuse Injuries are Trauma

Running injuries are too common among most runners. A few studies have put the annual injury rate as high as 75% – meaning three out of every four runners will get hurt every year and need to take significant time off to heal.

That’s just crazy.

Running injuries are quite simply the result of cumulative trauma to your muscles, tendons, ligaments, or joints. Running puts a lot of stress on your body; don’t let anybody tell you it’s not an impact sport!

Injuries happen when the cumulative trauma you’re inflicting on your legs exceeds the rate at which you can recover from that damage. So prioritizing recovery is crucial to not only get faster (your body “absorbs” the training when you rest), but to prevent injuries.

The stress-adaptation graph below illustrates how your body reacts to training. There’s an initial training stimulus (like a workout), a dip in fitness when you feel fatigued and sore, but after you rest enough your body rebounds and BOOM! You’re in better shape than when you started.

Stress Adaptation

We see here that stress is a good thing. Don’t be afraid of the words “cumulative trauma” because it’s why we train!

Alex Hutchinson recently wrote in a great column in Outside Magazine:

In our obsession with minimizing exercise damage, we may have lost sight of the reason we exercise in the first place: to force our bodies to adapt and get stronger.

Once we know that some exercise damage is a good thing, running becomes the careful management of that damage. Run long and hard enough to force as much adaptation as possible while recovering as much as you need to stay healthy.

Fortunately, there are specific ways to not only help you get faster, but manage the damage (my new slogan!) from running. Say goodbye to running overuse injuries.

Self-massage: learn to love it

Muscle soreness and tightness after a long run or workout are common (and of course, desirable). Sometimes it can be helpful for some self-massage – or a professional massage if you can afford one – to help speed the recovery process.

The fancy term is “myofascial release” and it simply means massage. It can help loosen tight muscles, promote healing blood circulation, and break up scar tissue and soft tissue adhesions. If you have any trigger points in your legs (especially tight and tender to the touch), massage can help release that tight spot.

You can perform self-massage on yourself before you run as part of your warm-up. Just make sure you keep the pressure lighter than usual so you don’t make yourself sore. After you run, you can be a little more aggressive.

Get flexible (but not by stretching)

I don’t support static stretching before or after running – it’s just not effective. Sure, some static stretching after you run doesn’t hurt, but recent studies show that it does nothing for injury prevention. And if you think static stretching before or after your run will prevent muscle soreness – think again.

A better way to promote more functional flexibility is with dynamic stretches. These are simple movements you can do both before and after you run to prepare your body for running, improve your range of motion, warm-up, or increase flexibility.

Not sure where to start? The Standard Warm-up is a dynamic stretching routine that I do almost every day (it takes about 8 minutes).

Fuel up after you run

After a long run or hard workout your body craves nutrients and fuel. There’s a window of about 30 minutes when your body is very receptive to the carbs, protein, and nutrients in your post-workout meal. Make sure you either plan ahead and have something ready to eat or have easily prepared, like energy bars, protein supplements, or a shake.

My favorite post-run fuel is a banana and a protein shake. I’ll eat this immediately after I finish my workout and then have a full meal about an hour later. If you’re pressed for time, make the protein shake in advance and you can take this recovery meal with you.

During marathon or other hard training, it’s crucial to give your body what it needs after those tough long runs and lengthy workouts. I’m a proponent of eating a significant amount of protein as a distance runner – that’s what helps repair muscle damage. You can order protein powder at NutritionFix.com or other online stores.

Get strong in your living room

Many runners think they need a fancy home gym or an expensive monthly membership to get the benefits of strength workouts. That can’t be further from the truth. You can get strong in your living room with a relatively quick workout.

Focus on the basic exercises and you’ll see real results:

  • Planks
  • Side planks
  • Push ups
  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Bridges
  • Squats

Also try out these runner-specific core routines: the ITB Rehab Routine and the Standard Core Routine. Both of these circuits have helped me stay injury-free for the past three years.

Chill out!

Sometimes you just need some quick recovery. That’s where an ice bath or a targeted ice massage (with an ice cup) comes in. Cooling your muscles helps fight inflammation and can speed recovery by reducing how sore you feel. But as we learned earlier, being sore is a good thing so only use ice baths when you’re really sore.

Some of the research on icing is contradictory and doesn’t show a conclusive physiological advantage. Even so, it’s still a common practice among elite runners and I’m a supporter of icing as an effective way to recover from hard workouts through my own personal experiences.

The best way to schedule your ice baths is to use them after an easy run to focus on complete recovery. You can also ice after a particularly hard workout or long run. While you may inhibit some adaptations gained through the workout itself, if you think you ran too much or too hard then it’s worth it.

For the most part, only elite athletes should worry about the tiny percent of fitness they’re losing from an ice bath. Icing has more benefits than drawbacks for “normal” runners like you and me.

Compress your pain away

I was admittedly late to the compression gear party – but now I’m a believer in the technology. Compression socks claim to enhance recovery by increasing blood flow to your feet and lower legs. While you’re running this is a non-starter – your legs are getting as much blood as they possibly can anyways. But at rest, they can help a lot.

Recent research has shown that compression socks increase lactic-acid and heart rate recovery after high-intensity running. Coupled with my personal experience that they work very well (wear them to bed!), then I’m comfortable recommending them to other runners.

The best times to use compression gear is after a tough workout or race when you know you’ll need extra help recovering. They can help boost your lower leg blood flow when normally the blood might pool in your extremities – like during periods of prolonged sitting at work or travel.

The other great time to use compression garments is right before a race. They can help your legs feel better after a day of wearing compression socks so you’re ready to race at your best.

Eat a good diet

Whether you’re a paleo runner, vegetarian marathoner, or a proud “regular diet” omnivore like myself, a good eating plan can be hugely beneficial to your recovery and performance. Put a focus on real food like vegetables, fruit, high-quality meat, fish, nuts, and whole grains (don’t go crazy with whole grains, though).

I have a very simple philosophy when it comes to the perfect runner’s diet and it aligns almost perfectly with Michael Pollan’s famous quote from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto: eat food, mostly plants, not too much. Keep it simple and don’t worry so much about your food choices. As long as you’re eating real food you’ll be fine.

Get more sleep

Sleep is a runner’s best friend – prioritize it! Have you ever went to bed hours later than you originally intended because you watched a movie you’ve already seen six times? We’ve all done it and then regretted it the next morning when our alarm goes off.

Trigger Point Starter Kit

Your body repairs itself when you sleep. It rebuilds your muscles, builds more mitochondria in response to all the training you’ve been doing, and adapts to your running workload. If you don’t rest then you don’t adapt.

And if you don’t adapt, you don’t become a better runner. Do yourself a favor and get the 8+ hours that your body craves.

Announcing: the Trigger Point Giveaway!

To help you recover from your running, prevent injuries, and be the best runner you can be I’m excited to announce a special giveaway.

We’re giving one lucky SR reader a Trigger Point starter kit – a $70 value. The complete kit includes a massage ball, footballer, and baller block.

They’re designed to be the ultimate self-massage tools; portable, versatile, and perfect for runners who need kinks worked out in the lower legs, feet, quads, or hips. Anybody can learn how to use these tools, making them perfect for beginners.

Check out the video below for more info on the Trigger Point system.

So, you want to win the starter kit? Here’s how to enter:

  1. Make sure you’re signed up to my private listonly subscribers are eligible.
  2. Leave a comment below describing the trouble you had with a past or current injury.
  3. You have until Thursday night at 11:59pm Eastern to leave your comment here.
  4. I’ll randomly select the winner and email you on Friday.

You don’t have to tweet this post, like it on Facebook, or blog about it for extra entries (though that’d be awesome if you did!). Everyone gets just one entry.

And here’s the awesome part: I’m going to email you a 20% discount code for a specially made bundle of running products. Even if you don’t win, you can save on all of these:

  • Anti-burst exercise ball
  • Trigger Point massage ball
  • Exercise band
  • Grid foam roller
  • Calf compression sleeves

I hope you’ll enter the contest and then take advantage of the 20% discount. I know you’ll benefit from a Trigger Point Starter Kit!

Remember, only runners on my private list are eligible – I need to be able to email you the discount code and whether you won the contest.

Note: This giveaway is over. Make sure you don’t miss another giveaway by joining the private list here or in the box below.

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Eric M.

Although injuries usually set me back, I feel trigger point therapy would help me out.

Chelsey

I actually am experiencing a good amount of hip pain right now- a cumulation of too little sleep and ramping up mileage too fast.

Austin

I’ve experienced IT Band pain (which has subsided), piriformis pain (more noticeable when I’ve been sitting for too long), and more recently, achilles tendonitis (also more noticeable during periods of inactivity).

Kathy L

I’ve got deep glute pain that radiates down to my foot on my right side. Probably a piriformis problem. Taking my easy runs VERY easy is helping (along with rolling, rolling, rolling).

Matt

Piriformis syndrome is a killer for me. I constantly have to guard against my Piriformis locking up and irritating my sciatic nerve. It can be brutal when it flares up…stop me in my tracks! Often, stretching isn’t enough, and self massage with a tennis ball is the only way to get relief. The Trigger Point starter kit would be a nice upgrade!

Emily

I am not sure that anyone even reads this still. But Matt, I’m hoping you see this. I”m hoping for some advice on the piriformis issue. How long did you deal with it?? Where exactly do you use the tennis ball to do the self massage? I’m desperate for relief.

Suzy Meathrell

I’ve some IT pain and top of foot pain that is no longer a problem, all in my right leg that has a bum knee that is a bit of a problem. How did I ever live without a foam roller?

Mason

I found you through your ITB Rehab Routine, and I’ve gone through just about every article you’ve posted. Thanks for all of your hard work and bringing so much to the running community.

Chris Poore

All great advice and definitely the reminder many of us need to hear. Recently I had to park my training plan due to pain associated with a locked up SI joint. I believe more consistent ancillary work could have prevented such. I must admit to having become sporadic when it came to performing a pre and post run routine. I learned a lot the day my PT prodded me to slowdown rather than go thru the motions blindly for the sake of time. Slowing down and practicing proper form in my ancillary work has brought me back to running relatively quickly and pain-free.

Ben Lauer

Hey Chris. I haven’t seen you in a while. Let’s run again soon.

Jason, Nice article. I found myself shaking my head up and down when reading. The only injury I can think of that sidelined me was an outer knee strain last year. It happened during an ultimate game, but was likely a result of ramping up too fast after a 50k.

stacy

I have overuse stress behind my left knee. Sometimes after long runs its so painful I cant walk for a while.

MJP

Thanks for the article! Your advice has alread helped me avoid overuse injuries and kept me injury free for almost a year now.

Dana

Thanks for this post, Jason. I’m slowly coming back from 2 injuries (herniated disk which was not running-related & left knee chondromalacia patella). It’s frustrating to work to the point where you’re in great shape, ready to go, then BAM injury hits. Really useful stuff in this post-some good reminders and new stuff I’m definitely going to use as I (slowly) build things back!!

Les

I have frequent knee pain (like my knee “giving out” during a run). Neoprene wrap helps, but I would like to fix the problem rather than avoid it. I also have tightness in the achilles/heel in the same leg as the bad knee…possibly from favoring the knee. Thanks for the info.

deepsouthrunner

Great topic! I am guilty of not eating soon enough after a run and not always stretching. This past summer I had IT Band Syndrome that plagued me for about two months. It was really hard but I got better by resting a lot, icing, foam rolling, and getting fitted for running shoes that were better for my stride.

Sherry

in the past I’ve had to deal with plantar fasciatis, thankfully I’ve over come that hurdle and regularly do the PT exercises to make sure it doesn’t come back. Now I’m dealing with shin splints.

Kris

Jason, thanks for the good advice. Avoiding injuries is critical for long term success. I’ve been derailed many times by a lingering disk injury in my back, which I can manage, but lately I’ve been battling a high hamstring injury. Nothing major, but it has been getting worse. Foam rolling helps, but the standard foam roller doesn’t really get to it so I’ve been trying a ball. It’s no fun but part of the adaptation process.

steve

Dealing with some glute/SI joint issues at the moment. Using “The Grid” on a regular basis.

Keep up the great work with your web site. Tons of great info!

–Steve

Kay

Ugh, dealing with ITBS right now. It seems to get better for a week or so then flares back up. Even doing the ITBS rehab routine (which has helped) this a long recovery process.

LJ

I get tight calves from time to time, and my feet are a bit sore post-half marathon. This looks way cool.

Emily

I’ve had a lot of IT band pain- thinking about getting a foam roller but not sure if I want to commit.

Andrew

Been having some right hip pain lately and I always seem to have some type of pain in my left knee. Some good reminders, enjoyed the post.

Elijah

Just yesterday I sprained my Achilles when I slipped on the grass.

Gabe

Currently trying to work through quadricep tendonitis

MollyG

I haven’t had a debilitating injury (knock on wood), but I do foam roll. The Trigger Point kit would be a great tool to add to my muscle-and-tendon-loosening arsenal.

Vira Katolik

Right now I’m battling tight calves. Ouch. I’d love this trigger-point kit since it’s a bit hard to get a really deep massage of the calves using a foam roller or even The Stick.

Leo

After my first full Marathon last November, I injured my IT band. I followed the IT band rehab routine and in about 6 weeks I’m back to running again without pain. Now after a long run I make sure I do the IT band rehab routine to prevent future injury to my IT band.

John

It band issues of late along with sore calves. Would love to try this.

Tiffany

I have to be really careful with my arches (or lack thereof). Since being pulled out of gymnastic as a kid because of ‘falling arches’, I have had to be careful to stretch and massage my feet/plantar fascia after prolonged periods of standing, walking, and certainly running. I’ve had foot twitches, cramps and spasms that have been crippling but fortunately have not lasted so long as to seriously interfere with my training. Being really careful about the shoes I wear has also been important. No heels for work for me.

Mandy

TP therapy has relieved my Achilles tendinitis (self diagnosed) I love TP therapy!

Laura B.

My hips and right knee have been experiencing pain lately, not to mention the bottoms of my feet :-(

Alan Ashley

I’m actually having/treating a slight aggravating achilles soreness. Luckily it’s not bad enough to stop running, just sore. But ice and treatment seem to help it recover. So lots of easy running for me.

BTW used your ITB post to treat mine over the summer in 2011. Worked great.

Charles Swanson

I have been through a myriad of injuries in the past few years. I tore a hip flexor a couple of years ago during a marathon, pulled a calf muscle, strained my groin, strained my LCL (I blame basketball for this and won’t be playing that anymore) and am currently getting much better from ITB syndrome. I have been using your strength running/run your BQ items and have been feeling much better. Thanks for your time and information. I currently use a foam roller, compression sleeves, icing and PT routines to help keep me going.

Scotty

I’ve had my bout with the IT band and several aches and pains, these tools would be great.

James @RedDirtRunner

Stress fracture at the base of the 5th metatarsal. Out for 3 more weeks. In the interim I have been doing core and strength work from this site. I have one of the big blue foam rollers, would love to try this set out.

Cheers.

Lisa

I am super excited about this giveaway! I have been seeing a Pt for hamstring tendinitis and sacroillitis. I only have four more sessions so winning this would be awesome!

Anna

I have a history of IT band problems, luckily are not bothering me now! Currently I have pain in one of my hips that I have never had before. Hopefully with some rest and stretching it will work itself out.

Jeff

After getting a few injuries every year I’ve tried to stay at the same distance/intensity for 3 to 4 weeks before increasing. Already had to take a week off a few weeks ago due to overuse causing upper knee pain, but it’s been an improvement so far this year.

Also, I like to cook up chicken breasts during the weekend and wrap them individually in foil. As soon as I’m done with my run I eat one before getting in the shower and relaxing. I will definitely have to give the massage a try, though.

Andrea

Great article Jason – I related a little too much with it. And since my half marathon PR plan has been replaced with a PT plan, I have been implementing more of the ITB Rehab Routine, foam rolling a lot, and trying to keep my legs as loose as possible while on crutches. I love my grid and often dream about that little ball! Would love to add this to my rehab mantra.

Heidi

I’m 52, trying to get into running without getting hurt. Did lots of stationary biking and weights for several months before I ever set foot into a running shoe. I an also doing Jason’s warmups and strength routines. Onlyl a few twinges here and there until last night 1 mile into my run my TB band started hurting on a slight downhill. I ran only the uphill back home as uphill did not hurt. I am trying so hard and been being so careful. First 5K in 2 weeks, Not sure how that is going to go :(

Lindsey

I have had issues with IT Band last year but so far this year I have been pain free!

Steve

A combination of almost no warming up prior to running, and using the “too-much-too-fast” method of training, gave me a nice gift of a nasty pelvic injury called Osteitis Pubis along w/a grade two bi-lateral groin strain. After recovery, using sites like yours has helped me to embrace dynamic stretching, form work, targeted core/body weight exercises, and moderation in workout/recovery cycle, so this time I’m training much more wisely.

Matt

Jason, thanks for yet another solid article. I’ve had overuse injuries in the past, but currently am in that strange place where I have NO injuries. I feel like I have reached the nirvana state described in eastern philosophy texts. I’m sure it’s nothing that spiritual though, just some hard rest, and attention to my core. Thanks again for the article!

Kay

Last year I trained 6 days a week for a half marathon. Two weeks before, before I came down with shin splints. I decided to run a 5k with the shin splint compression wrap. On race day, I could barely move. 6 months of training down the drain.

steve

When I transitioned to minimalist shoes, I suffered through a few weeks of some very painful calf muscles. Rolling on the foam roller was the quickest way I found to get back on my feet. Since the initial transition to the new shoes, I have been pleased with some serious muscle development.

Jessica-Rae

I’ve battled problems associated with having incredibly high arches for years — there was a good 5-year time period where I just gave up and said I’m simply “not a runner.” But then I figured out how important these types of little things are, and have been running for about 6 months now with little to no pain.

Ben R.

Wow, thanks, I didn’t know that about static stretching. Thanks for the video about dynamic stretching.

Doug

I’m dealing with chronically tight calves so the TPT Kit would definitely come in handy.

Mike

Last year, I had to have surgery on my foot to remove an infection. Ever since, I haven’t been the same due to injuries. I’ve had issues with my hip, piriformis, IT band, achilles, and even planar fascia in my right leg. It’s just been one problem after another. I’ve been going to P.T. and have gotten it down to my IT band and piriformis. I just want to be able to get back out and run (which I just tried to again) so I don’t have to red shirt next year too.

Great article by the way!

Mike

I’ve been having deep tissue issues (rhyme!) with my gluteus medius and my IT band that’s kept me from running. Coming off my best training/season to date, it’s been really tough not being able to run without intense pain. The Trigger Point package would help a ton with my recovery.

Kurt

Your website seems to be on point, as usual. After pushing too hard at my first marathon, I ended up with some IT Band issues. Your IT/Hip routine, done regularly, cleared everything up in about 8-10 weeks or so. I have had ZERO ITB issues since beginning to work on my strength.

I do my own core workout (similar to yours) but I hope that I can look forward to many more years of reduced injury running.

Kim

Fairly new runner and came across this article when looking for answers on preventing injuries, since I have already developed shin splits (worse in right leg), hip pain and pain behind left knee. Do I rest until they feel better or rest a day and get back out there. Great article-I’ll definitely be back to read more!!

John

I have struggled with ITBS in the past few years and I found that incorporating a strength routine seemed to help a ton. Also, I am about to embark on training for my first marathon which will involve considerably increasing my mileage, so I hope to use some of these tips to help stay injury free.

Heather

When I was training for my 1st marathon, I kept getting back of the knee pain on my left knee–sometimes crippling me beyond being able to walk. I learned from a local running shop that I was not stretching nearly well enough…. have since stretched better, but always working towards better strength!

Elizabeth S

Butt pain love dynamic stretching

Stephanie

I’m currently trying to get back on track after ACL reconstruction. I lost use of my quads after surgery which significantly increased recovery time and has added sciatica to my usual PF bouts when re-starting or increasing training. I found the site looking for info on overuse injuries and love what I’ve seen so far. I’m looking forward to the AB Plan. :)

Andrea

I’m getting over a build up of tension in one of my legs from bad running technique. I’ve had several massage therapy sessions, and the masseuse says that most of the issue seems to be focused around my sartorius. Rolling feels agonizingly wonderful.

Kate

I’ve had terrible knee pain when I would run in the past. Taking things slowly has helped a lot though.

Brandon

I currently have very sore and tight calves, also my feet have been bothering me on a lot of my runs lately, mostly inside my right arch and the outside edge of my left foot. I’ve been doing various exercises to alleviate but so far I haven’t had much luck.

Kenneth D.

Being flatfooted (Thanks Pop!) I do have a trouble increasing my mileage or speed throughout the years. Maybe these things would help, who knows, Awesome site!

Stacie

One of my “funnier” injuries was stubbing my toe against a taller-than-usual brick on the last stretch of a morning run and going flying. I was brought to a stop by skidding along the rest of the brick walk on my right knee. No harm, no foul, except for the missing skin and the slightly wounded dignity.

A few weeks later, just after I had pretty much healed up from the first incident, I’m in another state for a conference, I’m running an unfamiliar path near the resort, the sweat’s fogging up my sunglasses… sure enough, I snag my foot on a protruding electrical box and go flying again. Skinned the same knee and several knuckles.

I had to assure the stranger running not far behind me that I wasn’t that badly hurt, just mostly embarrassed. I had been so desperate to find a better place to run than just circling the boring old parking lot, I ran for about an additional forty minutes with a huge streak of blood running down my shin and on my hand. Mostly on the sidewalk near a surprisingly quiet six-lane highway. I often wondered what the early morning commuters passing by must have thought. I half expected a patrol car to come pulling up and ask if I had been mugged.

Emily

The first time I got shin splints I tried to do everything right to treat them. I iced my shins, did my stretches, and cut back on my activity. I still had to work 8 hour shifts on my feet though and it hurt me. I bought compression socks in desperation after one very bad shift. I don’t know if it was psychological or not but I managed to work my next shift with only a few twinges. I’m a believer now! I train in compression socks if I’m having problems and wear them for recovery.

Tom

Well, I have the usual ITBS and shin splints. Getting better with strength exercices but not sure it’s completely under control yet.

Robert

I’ve long had some issues with achilles tendonitis, I suspect caused by the ingrown toenail I struggled with for a while. I’m suspicious that the toenail issue changed my form enough to give me bad habits.

Dustin

Definitely have problems with tight calves from time to time and have been having a problem with my foot arch lately as well as I’m trying to transition into minimialist shoes

Hilson

I have been doing self-massage for the better part of a year now. I started with a tennis ball to help with some piriformis trouble I was having having and have since continued. I do the massage daily, regardless of whether I am injured or not (which has been pretty good as of late, though I am currently battling an anterior knee issue I think has come about since I started training for a triathlon).

Anyways, these trigger point tools would be great, because my current massage tools are:

-a couple warped tennis balls
-a foam roller made of PVC pipe and some foam from the hardware store
-a phillips head screwdriver (I use the butt end of the driver to massage my glutes)

So yea, it would be nice to have some quality materials to continue my massages.

Thanks for the column, as always.

Sarah

I have been dealing with nagging plantar fasciitis for over a year now, and I have recently been feeling some symptoms of sciatica.. and I have been dealing with GI issues undiagnosed–either ulcerative colitis or Chron’s. Needless to say training for this marathon has been quite tough!

Ben

Just bought a roller stick, really helps but would like something smaller for localized massage

Rob F

I was doing great with increasing my miles and speed injury free compliments of your standard warm up and IT Band routines. I was doing so well that I slacked off from the routines which lead to some nasty shin splints. After a few weeks of recovery, I’m back to increasing miles again.

Chris

Would love the trigger point kit. My calves are extremely tight and sore. Professional massage helps, but I need something I can do at home for free.

-Chris

Brett Kinggard

For about 3 weeks I have had pain in my left quad. I am pretty sure that I pulled something during a yoga class. Whatever it was sure sidelined me. I have since taken an entire week off and have only run at a very slow pace since. I can only hope that things will improve.

Matt F

Great article Jason. I’ve had PF and Achilles issues in the past. I still have times where my calves are tight though and I’m sure the Trigger Point system would help out!

Jonathan

I’ve had issues with a persistent hamstring twinge that just won’t go away. It doesn’t hurt enough to stop running but just enough to let me know it is there.

Greg Strosaker

My injuries move around as my old weaknesses get addressed and the next weak link in the chain gets uncovered. So now its the Achilles, but who knows what’s next? Maybe the IT Band? Anyway, injury often provides the time to do all those “right things” you talk about above (though I’ll never be able to get 8 hours of sleep).
Sincerely,
The New Core Whore

Preston

This post is so apropos for me! I just had my first physical therapy appointment. In the last six months I’ve had one stress fracture and some hip pain that may have been the start of a stress reaction, all in the same leg. I had a gait analysis done, so hopefully I’ll get some helpful guidance on how to run and not be injured! I definitely fall into the “only running” category, but my PT has given me some great exercises to address some of my weaknesses. Thanks for sharing that dynamic stretching warmup routine!

josephine

i’ve had both shin and calf pain issues, hope to never experience them again

Sarah

Knee pain, sit-bone pain, and hamstring pain… Oh my! Thanks for all your posts. They are encouraging me to focus on getting stronger.

Erin Ritola

About 10 years ago, I played volleyball and had the worst shin splints ever- after practice it would be painful to hit the gas/break peddals in my car to drive home. Now, I know that was due to bad coaching and serious overuse.
More recently, I was doing great until I agreed to run the FL Keys Ragnar with people from work between Half Marathons (first Half in October, Ragnar in January, 2nd Half in February). Because I was running consistantly higher mileage for the Half training, I ended up Runner 6 during the Ragnar – 3 legs, first 9 miles, second 7, third the longest 4 of my life. The Ragnar proved to be too much and I started having nagging achiness in my left hip. After struggling through the Half in February, I took 3 weeks off and am now starting speed work using the Rebel Running Guide. I started the Core workouts that are in the guide and your ITB rehab workout a couple weeks prior to starting running again, and so far, so good. I have been looking into compression and foam rollers/sticks/other forms of massage to supplement the other work. I am really trying to stay healthy.

LesserisMore

I’m still fighting through some lingering calf tightness from my recent marathon. I use a variety of “tools” (ie tennis balls, lacrosse balls, etc), but those TP ones seem to be pretty much the perfect density for that kind of treatment. Sure would help!

Linda

I had recently been having issues with my L knee where I’d have pain after running about 2.5 miles on it. After several weeks of R.I.C.E. it seems to be much better now.

Roger C.

I have had three calf strains in the past year. The first set me back three months of training because I tried to run on it way to early. The second happened three weeks before a half marathon. I took 2 weeks off and did only light running in the third week and was still able to run a PR. Now I am training for another half and just strained it again about three weeks ago. It was a fairly light strain. and I was able to do light running again after one week of rest. I just did a tough track workout yesterday, though, and my calf is pretty sore. It doesn’t seem to be localized to the area I strained, although that is a little more sore, but the entire lower calf is sore. Hoping this isn’t a recurrence. I have used the stick on it a bit, but I am never sure how much or how hard to use it.

Mike

I’ve been battling IT band syndrome for the past year and a half. Massage works sometimes, but this would be a lot cheaper of a solution.

Also, hello from Runnit!

JB

I have dealt with shin splits. They have gone away recently with a reduction in mileage.

Randy

Right heel pain, sorta like achilles tendonitis, sometimes arch pain. It comes and goes. Tx for the info!

Donna

Ugh, bursitis in my right hip has been a consistent pain in my backside, er, um, make that SIDEside, for about 6 months. I began running at age 40, soon to be 6 years ago. My hubby and I are training for our first half marathon in June, and this hip pain has me rattled. I took an entire month off in December after an orthopedist suggested it was the only way. Then we took a chi running workshop in January and the corrections to my form have been so valuable (lean from the ankles, pelvis adjustment, mid foot strike, and shortened stride). Two Sundays ago I ran 7.2 miles–my longest run EVER– and felt fantastic! This past Sunday I logged 7.05 and was whipped but energized. I’m stoked to have found this blog and adopt the tips and advice o get stronger and stronger and ditch the plaguing injuries for good! Thanks!

Kierthi

Jason, this has to be my favorite article thus far, well mainly because it resonates with what I’m going through right now. I hurt my ITB severely in October and I still haven’t recovered from it yet. I have been faithfully doing your ITB routine everyday, so Im hoping to bounce back fast. When I look back I did not do a lot of things that you mention in your list. I would just get up and run and then have a protein shake after hard, long runs. That was my marathon prep!!! Needless to say now Im wiser and hoping to recover from the persistent ITB issue. Thanks again!

Dave F

Back in October, I suffered an overuse injury with my right calf – endeavoring to never have THAT happen again. This kit is just the kind of thing I need to do preventative maintenance.

Jeremy

I’m currently on the road to recovery from some achilles tendinitis. I’ve been trying to strengthen my calves and lengthen the tendon by transitioning to flatter shoes. I’d love the kit to help keep my calves loose to avoid unnecessary tension.

Ryan

I had ACL reconstructive surgery after I demonstrated my lack of skiing abilities about 7 years ago. since then I’ve run my 1st through 6th marathons and one half. That half would’ve been a full and one I didn’t even make to the starting line due to the knee acting up during training and/or races.

Emily

My calves are the devil..

emwins

I’ve had some discomfort around the balls of my feet and active calf stretching is helping that. The Stick has helped me deal with trigger points in my calves and I’m trying to use more Jim and Phil Wharton style active-isolated stretching to avoid an inside right knee irritation that made me back out of last fall’s NYC Marathon. My right hammie is tighter than the left. I do need to loosen up. :-)

Stacey Berube

I am having terrible trouble with a tight left hamstring.

David H.

Fortunately I’m injury free right now, but having had plantar fasciitis and ITBS, I know how great these tools would be for treating such injuries.

Love the post – great things here as always!

Bobby

My Achilles has issues.

Natalie T.

I am currently dealing with IT band syndrome. I have been doing strength/stretch exercises per my doc.

Indi

Tendon issues seem to be my biggest problem, be it ankle, posterior tibial on ITB! with Training for Ultras now feet are really taking a hit and I’ve found the good old tennis ball routine helpful, but would LOVE to be able to have incorporate a trigger point routine to help with it as well.

Drew

Ive been dealing with patella femoral pain along with ITB tightness on my left leg. I foam roll before and after running to help. I also recently picked up The Stick at the NYC half expo and I love it. I’m all about self massage because my pocket book can’t afford regular massages!

Hyedi

This was such a great post. Super comprehensive and easy to understand. Makes me feel empowered, like it’d be really easy to actually incorporate your tips!

I feel like I’m always coming back from injury. Shin splints, plantar fasciitis — you name it. Right now, I’m dealing with some knee soreness.

Carin

I had a knee injury in December. I foam rolled (and still do) after every run! I also take advantage of my X2 Recovery and Mobility DVD often. It’s nothing but yoga and foam rolling. Almost better than any professional massage I’ve ever had.

Linda

During the last year I’ve suffered from lower back pain (slipped disc), knee pain (IT band) and tight glutes and hips (those probably came first). I’ve engaged in a stready relationship with a chiropractor. He fixed my back but my knee hasn’t healed properly yet. For self-massage I use a football instead of a foam roller since I don’t have one. Sometimes I use a tennis ball instead if I really want to torture myself on those sore spots. I’ve just started with Jason’s IT band and core routines and could really use a rehab kit.

Aidan

I’ve had troubles with runner’s knee for the past 2 years on and off. Tight hip flexors, and IT bands make the femur twist out of alignment screwing the knee. Maybe trigger point is the ticket?
Thanks for a great website.

Julia

Just started my return-to-running program after being off for 2 weeks with insertional achilles problem. Classic case of too much too soon, i.e., increasing mileage and doing speed work at the same time. It was fun while it lasted ;)
My right calf is still significantly tighter than my left and I’ve thought several times about investing in a trigger point set as I think it would really help work out the knots in my soleus :))

Meg T

Currently having some groin pain. It’s hard to get with the foam roller but I try my best. I also do a bunch of strength stuff for the hips and abductors/adductors and get massages. Maybe it would be easier to target the hip/groin area with the trigger point kit?

Rob Rypma

I have been cheap and using my wife’s wooden rolling pin and a softball on my legs, feet, and hips. This Triggerpoint gear looks like a better way to self massage, the benefits of working out tight muscles has been beneficial.

Beth

Once again, great article with great advice for preventing injury. I’ve had my fair share over the years and always find I learn from your articles and emails. I currently have tendinitis in my foot and ran my 1st half marathon this past Sunday. Now I have to give my foot the proper healing time it needs. I tend to struggle with tight calves and try to foam roll often but the trigger point kit is unbelievable. Would definitely benefit from it!

Nicholas L. Norfolk

This is a nice article. Definitely one that should be shared. Like many others I’ve experienced the infamous IT Bandit. He decided he was going to befriend me last year during the middle of the season. I think it was a combination of not strengthening my muscles, only running, and overuse. I’ve heard good things about Trigger Point and I’m eager to give it a shot.

Beth

I have had hamstring issues and I find I must be consistent with core work and flexibility to stay running healthy.

Ashlyn H

I am a college athlete in cross country and track&field. I’m currently dealing with IT band syndrome and trigger point therapy is something I believe will help and also prevent future injuries. Thank you!

Sara

I have had ITB pain in the past and am constantly struggling with shin pain. I just started to train for my next half and have my first full coming in a few months. Need to stay injury and pain free!

Shreya

I used to have a lot of knee pain (on the sides mostly) till about a year back. But then i discovered the magic and power of foam rolling. I also learnt that this pain was mostly due to my tight IT band.
I use the foam roller after most running workouts.
Recently though I have had this strange pain on the ankle. It’s concentrated at the back or the sides and mostly occurs after a long run.
I think trigger point will help me with my knee and maybe my ankle too.

Kim

I’ve been dealing with a very tight IT band and ham string. The foam roller has helped a lot!

Tim

I’ve most recently won a hard fought battle with ITBS, due in thanks to the ITB rehab routine and a foam roller. Other than that just general calf tightness.

katie

i’ve had trouble with my shins on and off for two years now – think some of it is form related, but so far have not been able to do anything that keeps them healthy for more than 3 months at a time.

Erin

I recently dealt with a lower-back injury due to weak core muscles post-pregnancy. I have strengthened my core enough to overcome the soreness, but getting my core strength back is a work in progress!

Jeff

So far, achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, and FHL tendonitis (dancer’s tendonitis). Pretty much everything that can get hurt in my right foot that isn’t a stress fracture has been hurt.

Jennifer

I am an overweight mother of two. I started running 2years ago because i couldnt walk up a flight of stairs. I ran my first marathon and have done several halfs. I have recently started experiencing lower back pain where my leg muscles meet my hip bones. I feel these products can help me work through these issues and continue to run /reach my goals.

marissa

Oh gosh, I was just thinking last night how I need some self massage support. My hamstring and piriformis muscles are literally screaming at me as I’m writing this. I’ve been trying to sit on a tennis ball at work, but my coworkers are looking at me like I’m a weirdo.

veggie365

Foot issues (dropped metatorsal head) and hip & knee issues – but the chiropractor works miracles on these last two. Stretching and massage definitely help but I am not consistent enough with them! :-(

Rob McGalway

I had nagging ITBS for 2 years…one day would run 3 miles with no prob, 2 days later after 1 mile it would come on and stop me within a minute of onset. It was hell! I tried everything, 2 different physios, foam rolling, stretching and strengthening. Not until I committed myself last january 1st to getting over it and finding SR and the ITB routine did I get better. Did the routine (about 10 – 15 mins) every evening for 70 days in a row (missed only 1 along the way), continued the foam roller and did the warmup routine before and after runs and I have not had one single twitch on the side of my right knee since. Thanks SR & Jason!

Jason Fitzgerald

Wow that’s incredible Rob, I’m so happy I could help you get healthy!

trent

I had nagging calf problems for years. I ditched my heavy, motion control shoes for a lighter pair and the pain went away.

James

My problem is my calves. I’ve not suffered like this before but I’m now in my 4th marathon and it’s the 3rd consecutive Kielder marathon so I have to be there to have done each one so far. I treasure the instrument of relieve. :D

Wes

Had ITB issues in past along with Halux Rigidus surgery that left me with a staph infection pumping antibiotics through a PICC. Most recently was chronic PF that kept me from running for almost 4 years. Well, I’m finally back at it. 600 miles since April and I don’t want to screw this up. I’ve dropped 30 pounds with only 10 to go (amazing how easy it is to gain weight without running). I am just looking for any way to stay healthy.

Jason Fitzgerald

That’s rough Wes – hopefully these suggestions will help you stay healthy!

amy

Piriformis trouble, hip and lower back problems and problems with my right foot have all beset me at various times. hard to keep up a consistent running routine when i keep getting injured!! that’s what brought me to this website!

Chuck Swanson

I have issues with my Achilles currently and have had issues with my calves and IT band. By following your routines & using a few of Jay Johnson’s things I have been healthier. Current injury happened after I neglected to do routines like I should’ve been and ran too much too quick. Thanks for what you do for us runners and for this sweet give away opportunity!!

kim

I’ve often looked at the trigger point therapy tools, but just wasn’t in the budget. These would be so helpful as I suffer from I think tight everything, but especially calves, hamstrings, and definitely would help my feet.

Lori B

Right now I am struggling with plantar fasciitis. Such a painful thing!!! Yikes!

Kristi

I am in Week 7 of Couch 2 5K and I’m really starting to feel soreness and tightness in my IT bands and glutes and I think this would really help to loosen those up.

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