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Coach's Corner: Falcon Cross Country
Preventing Injuries

Someone asks, how do I get back in shape after not running for a long time, and how do I keep from getting hurt?  Here are some things to consider, from the ground up.


  1. The ground.  If the surface you run on can absorb some of the shock of your foot hitting the ground, then your leg (foot, ankle, knee) doesn’t have to.  Grass is great for your legs, but finding a grassy place to run isn’t easy.  Golf courses are perfect, but getting hit in the head with a golf ball isn’t. 

        Dirt trails are the next best thing, and I like the fact  

        that the irregular surface forces you to develop ankle 

        stability and balance.  Asphalt is sometimes a necessary

        evil, but avoid running on it every day.  Concrete sidewalks

        are the worst.  All-weather tracks are somewhere in the

        middle of this range, but too boring for most cross-country



  1. The shoes.  I cannot overstress the importance of a good, fresh pair of running shoes suited to your biomechanics.  Ryan’s Sport Shop is one of a few excellent stores in the area.  Ask for your Saratoga High XC discount, and plan on spending about an hour finding the right pair for you.


  1. The legs.  Running isn’t enough.  You need to develop a daily routine for strengthening the muscles that stabilize your knees, and for strengthening the hamstrings.  This is an absolute minimum.  Ask me if you don’t know what to do.  Stretching is also critical for some athletes who have limited flexibility.  Brad.


     4.   The core.  Work on strengthening either abs or lower 

           back every day. 


     5. The brain.  Use your head.  Understand that pain is a

         message from your body that you are doing something

         wrong.  Don’t ignore it or mask it with pain relievers.  If  

         you can’t figure out what your body is trying to tell you,  

         your coach and trainer are there to help you.

Don’t ever minimize the importance of rest, hydration and nutrition.  You are an athlete, you make unusual demands on your body, and you must be diligent about taking care of it.