If you are just starting on your 500 mile project, you are probably very gung ho about it. This might mean that you are being aggressive, maybe even too aggressive. In the case of running, this can be a real problem, especially for new runners.
So, before you get too far into your program, why not take a look at some of the potential perils for new runners. See some of the common problems and how to prevent them.
Shin splints are one of the most common problems faced by runners. You can get them when you overwork the muscles and tendons in the lower front part of your leg. Shin splints are very easy to get when you ramp up your workout program too quickly.
To prevent shin splints, you need to work up your distance slowly. Even if the rest of your body can handle a longer run, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
If you have been unfortunate enough to get a case of shin splints, you have a tough road ahead. They are easy to get but can be difficult to get rid of. What you need to do is rest and ice the area. Freezing water in a paper cup works well since it gives you a nice formed piece of ice. you can use the edge to get the cold where you need it.
Just like shin splints, knee pain can be very easy to get when you ramp up your activity level too much.
To prevent knee pain, you should choose good footwear and work up your run length slowly. If you are overweight, you might consider walking instead of running until you lose some of the weight. The heavier you are, the more impact your knees will have to endure.
Once you have knee pain, you just have to wait it out. Use rest and ice to treat your knee until the swelling and/or pain go down. Resist the urge to tough it out.
When running you make yourself susceptible to all sorts of ankle injuries, the most common being a twisted ankle. This is an injury that is very easy to prevent though, if you are cautious.
The best way is to use proper footwear and proper form. Practice your running stride and for the first few days or weeks of running make a conscious effort to maintain your form. Eventually, it will become ingrained in you. In addition, be cautious about making sharp turns at speed, especially when you are first starting out. Remember, there are a lot of little muscles and tendons in your ankle that need to get conditioned.
Once injured, fixing the problem involves the same old same old. Rest and ice is what you need.
The back, particularly the lower back is a problem for many people. A bulging disk can cause you a of problems and the impact from running can certainly affect it.
If you have a bad back, no strengthening will help it. Sure, some abdominal exercises can strengthen the core but it is really the impact that does the job and this is what you have to pay attention to. Wear good shoes, maintain proper form and consider running on naturl surfaces instead of concrete.
If back problems do arise, rest is the name of the game. This is not an injury that you want to make worse because a bad back injury can affect your entire life and leave you in constant pain.