How To Prevent Cross Country Running Injuries

Now that fall is nearly here, cross country running injuries appear and can sideline athletes and other distance runners. Some of the most common running injuries are shin splints, tendinitis of the knee, ankle sprains, muscle pull, and stress fractures of the leg.

A large percentage of running injuries are overuse injuries and can be prevented with proper training techniques and smart sports medicine.

Here are our top tips to preventing a cross country related injury:

Tips and tricks to preventing injury

  • Make sure to wear proper shoes, test race-day shoes, and replace them as needed.
  • Be sure to pay attention to form, check the soles of your shoes for improper wear patterns.
  • Stretch before and after a practice or meet, keep your body loose and limber.
  • Adjust to new terrain, add in hills and other training changes slowly.
  • Warm-up and cool down before and after all runs and races.
  • Improve and maintain flexibility by practicing recommended stretches.
  • Make sure to include strength training and cross-training into your training program. These really help with balance and agility.
  • If you are experiencing any pain, have it checked out by a doctor or physical therapist.
  • Stay hydrated to avoid muscle cramps.
  • Pay attention to nutrition to improve energy, endurance, and performance.
  • Include rest days in your training schedule, try walking, cycling, or swimming.
  • If possible, don’t stop training after the season, keep going during the summer to stay in shape.
  • Run with a purpose and stay present on the course. Don’t get distracted.

It helps coaches and trainers assess their athletes’ risk of injury if they know their level of training and overall running fitness. So be honest! A conditioned runner who diligently logged miles throughout the off-season is probably better prepared than a beginner or a team member who was lax over the summer months.

If you should experience an injury…

If you should experience an injury, we recommend that you work with your doctor, and physical therapist to properly rehabilitate your injury or determine any improper running styles. 

As you recover, take it slow, listen to your body, and pay attention to signs you may be overdoing it. You don’t want to re-aggravate or re-injure the same body part. Remember, the course will be there, so take your time to recover!