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3 Essential Exercises for Preventing Running Injuries

Running is a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy, but it's not without its risks of wear and tear. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just starting out, injuries can derail your progress and sideline you from your favorite activity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of injury, and it all starts with incorporating the right strength training exercises into your weekly workout routine.

Why Preventing Running Injuries Matters

Before we dive into the specific exercises, let's take a moment to understand why preventing running injuries is so important. Running puts a significant amount of stress on your muscles and joints, especially if you're logging long miles or tackling challenging terrain. Without proper preparation and conditioning, this stress can lead to a variety of injuries, including shin splints, runner's knee, and Achilles tendonitis. By incorporating targeted exercises into your training regimen, you can strengthen key muscles and improve your biomechanics, reducing your risk of injury and keeping you on the road for miles to come.

Exercise 1: Hip Flexion

The hip flexors play a crucial role in running, helping to lift your knees and propel you forward with each stride. Weak or tight hip flexors can lead to a host of issues, including IT band syndrome and hip pain. That's why hip flexion exercises are a must for any runner looking to stay injury-free.


How to Do It:

  1. Start by standing on one leg and holding something for support (wall, railing, chair, etc.)
  2. Slowly raise one knee toward your chest, keeping the other leg flat on the ground.
  3. Hold for a moment, then lower your leg back down until your thighs are parallel to each other.
  4. Repeat for 8-15 repetitions each side
  5. Pro Tip: Add a versa band just above your knees for extra resistance!

Exercise 2: Tibia Dorsiflexion

Tibia dorsiflexion may not be a term you hear often, but it's an essential movement for runners, especially those prone to shin splints and other lower leg injuries. Tibia dorsiflexion refers to the action of pulling your toes up toward your shin, which helps to strengthen the muscles on the front of your lower leg and improve your running form.


How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your back against a wall with your feet flat on the ground about hip width apart.
  2. Slowly pull your toes up towards your shins while keeping your heels glued to the floor
  3. Hold for a moment and lower your toes back towards the floor
  4. Repeat for 8-15 repetitions each side
  5. Pro Tip: Hold in the contracted position on the last rep for 15-30 seconds.

Exercise 3: Calf Raise

Strong calf muscles are essential for absorbing the shock of each foot strike and propelling you forward with power and efficiency. By incorporating calf raises into your routine, you can strengthen these muscles and reduce your risk of calf strains and Achilles tendon injuries.


How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding onto a sturdy object for support if needed.
  2. Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as you can.
  3. Hold for a moment at the top, then lower back down.
  4. Aim for 8-15 repetitions each side.
  5. Pro Tip: Stand on stairs or some weight to get a full extension, do single leg for more tension, and hold weight to make it extra challenging!


Incorporating hip flexion, tibia dorsiflexion, and calf raises into your training routine can go a long way toward preventing running injuries and keeping you on the road for years to come. By strengthening key muscles and improving your biomechanics, you'll not only reduce your risk of injury but also enhance your performance and enjoyment of the sport. So lace up those shoes, hit the pavement, and run strong!

Reformed Fitness is passionate about helping you reach the many health and fitness goals you have. Find out how our evidence based workouts can help you reach your goals in just two 30 minute strength training workouts per week! Schedule your FREE Virtual 1 on 1 workout today!