The five "P"s to overcoming and avoiding running injuries Published Aug. 8, 2014 By Bill Goins Kunsan Health Promotion Program KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Readiness in the military is critical to success. Part of being "ready" is being as fit as possible at all times, on any given day. We never know when we may have to call on our physical fitness to "Defend the Base, Accept Follow-on Forces, and Take the Fight North." One of the most popular ways to improve and maintain our fitness levels is through running. While there are injuries that can be associated with all activities, running carries with it some common injuries that must be dealt with appropriately. Below are a few strategies to not allow some of the more common running injuries to keep you from reaching your goals. 1. Planning. If your goal is to improve your speed at the 1.5 mile run, but you are unable to run 30 minutes without stopping, you need to create a plan to increase your endurance first and then tackle your speed goals. This relatively short goal generally requires an exercise plan of eight to 12 weeks. If your goal is to run a marathon, you are probably looking at a plan lasting between 16 and 24 weeks, or more. 2. Patience. Most of us lack sufficient patience when it comes to our expectations for exercise. Most runners would be well served to adopt a mindset where patience is the first thing considered when making decisions about training, analyzing training, and coping with injuries. When you get injured, you MUST fight the natural feeling of impatience. You're injured. It happens. The key now is to focus on addressing the injury appropriately and put the original training plan on hold for a bit. 3. Physical therapy. You need to appropriately identify the injury and then work on rehabilitating that injury. If you continue to press on with your training plan, you'll not only prevent adequate healing of the current injury, but you'll also run a very high risk of creating a secondary injury as your body over-stresses another muscle or joint trying to compensate for the original injury. 4. Professional. Once you're ready to resume your training, seek out help from a certified professional. Health Promotion offers you amazing resources in the Human Performance Lab. You can't just jump back in to your program where you left off. The program must be adapted and you may even have to adapt your goal. Your Health Promotion Program Coordinator can help you safely and effectively do this. 5. Persevere. This is where it is imperative that you accept that you had an injury. Your original goal and plan may have to be adjusted slightly, but you're in this for the long haul. Your goal shouldn't be only about your "race." Your goal should be about the journey of getting to the race and achieving your goals. This requires perseverance to be flexible and adapt as injuries occur. That perseverance makes achieving your goal that much sweeter. Once you get there, start again. New goal. New plan. Running injuries may seem inevitable; however, if you deal with your running injury appropriately, it never has to mean your running days are over. Health Promotion offers services that can help you reach all of your fitness goals. The services include body fat analysis, running shoe and gait analysis, functional movement screening, personalized fitness programming, and more. For more information, contact us at 782-5595.