The number 1 question of all people who love to be active is how to prevent injury.   While there is no sure fire way to avoid it, there are some very simple and often overlooked injury prevention tools.

Today I will share one simple way to prevent injury.  This trick actually applies to virtually any weight bearing activity that you do repeatedly such as walking, Jazzercise, kickboxing or whatever but is really important for runners in particular.

If you are like most people you have 1 pair of running or walking shoes.  If you do other activities such as classes at the gym or lifting, you likely wear these same shoes.  And, when they are completely dead, you finally make the investment to get another pair.

Here’s the deal.

You need two different pairs of shoes.

That doesn’t mean two Brooks Adrenaline or two Asics Gel-Nimbus, one blue and one green.  You actually need two different models of shoes.  And, you need to rotate wearing them.   You might use one for long runs, one for track work, and one for both, or one on Mondays and Fridays and one for Saturdays and Thursdays.  However you want to do it is fine.   You just need to have AT LEAST two different pairs to wear at any given moment.

Why Should you do this?

  1. Stress variation: The main reason is stress variation. I’ll talk about this more in future posts, but it does the body good to change the stress you put on it. Let’s think about this. Let’s say your foot is hurting or your knee. If you go out and run in the same shoes every day, it is likely that it will continue to hurt. But, if you have a different pair of shoes to wear, the impact on your foot will change ever so slightly. With the change, there also comes the chance that it might not hurt. Of course, you may need to change your form, or lay off or whatever, but before you have to lay off, try something easy. You are going to do it eventually any ways.
  2. Additional Shoe Options:  The second reason is definitely secondary, but I would also say it is important. If you buy one pair of shoes at a time, there is a continual debate as to whether you should stick with the tried and true or try something different. The tried and true has worked so why change it?   But, another shoe might feel really good. Risk it or not? It is easy to stay in the same shoe year after year after year, never exploring the possibility of something better. When you get two at once, you get one that is tried and true and one that is different. Worst case, if you don’t like the different one very well, you use it sparingly for short runs, but still have something to alternate into if needed.

Most of my runners don’t do this. You might think “I’m not even doing track work,” “I’m not that serious,” “I’m not a good runner,” “I’m not a REAL runner.”

Let me ask you two simple questions.

  1. How would you feel if you got injured today and couldn’t run for the next 6 months? Oh good heavens, I know that I would go bonkers, looney cats, and my family would be even more ready for me to get back to running. It is my social outlet and my anti-depressant rolled into one. Maybe it is not a big deal to you. But, if you are taking the time to read this, I bet it is.
  2. Do you plan to buy another pair of shoes at some point? Again, I would guess the answer is yes. If you enjoy running, you probably plan to change your shoes out every 300-500 miles. So, if you are going to buy a pair at some point, just go ahead and buy them now. If you usually buy two pairs of shoes a year, you will still only buy two pairs, you will just have two at once. Just, make sure you get two different pairs of shoes, not just a second pair of the same shoe.

I am betting that being active is really important to you.  This is one of many small steps you can take to prevent injury and run healthier for longer.

If you have ever been injured before, how long did you have to go without running or walking? What did you do to keep your sanity during that time?

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