Prevention is always better than the cure and that is even more true in the case of Achilles tendonitis. The nasty condition is every runner’s nightmare and I will tell you exactly what you can do to keep it at bay for sure.
Even if it is possible to run with Achilles tendonitis somehow but that requires extra care. This takes the fun out of running and turns the activity into a painful chore. So better do something about it when you can.
In this guide, I will share with you some easy ways to prevent Achilles tendonitis forever. Make the suggestions a part of your daily regimen and the condition will stay away from you.
What are those suggestions? Glad you asked. Here you are:
9 Easy Ways to Prevent Achilles Tendonitis From Happening To You
Ease Yourself Into the World of Running
Running is a strenuous activity. If you have never run before, taking on a 5k may prove damaging to your untrained Achilles tendon. So, take it slow for the first few days.
To give yourself a safe nudge into the world of running, start with a couple of hundred meters only. A week or so later, gradually increase the distance you run from there.
Progressive Overload Your Running Regimen
Easing yourself into the world of running applies to the level of intensity you run at as well. Do not run at a speed that takes you to the point of failure every day. Instead, follow the principle of progressive overload here.
For the progressive overload to work for you, start with running at 50% of your max speed and on a flat surface only. As you get comfortable, increase your running speed and go for a more challenging surface such as a hill.
A few weeks later, to push your running ability to the next level, you may tie some weight to your calves as well.
Avoid Running on Uneven Surfaces
Running on uneven surfaces is a sure-fire way for the Achilles tendonitis to hit you (source). You may try a hill run for the sake of training harder but never try an uneven or muddy terrain. This will unleash hell on your tendons and they may get inflamed.
Choose Your Shoes Carefully
When it comes to preventing Achilles tendonitis, a wrong or worn-out pair of shoes is even worse than running bare feet. The right shoes not only prevent the condition but soothe it as well.
The right drop, stack height, arch support, and thick cushioning are a few features that must be present in your running shoes. In case your shoes are lacking in any area, you are prone to developing Achilles tendonitis.
For an informed decision, take a look at my guide on how to choose the best running shoes for achilles tendonitis.
Stretch Before and After Running
Always take time to warm your muscles up before running and cool them down after. All it takes are a few simple stretches for 5-10 minutes and your muscles are ready for the run.
Stretching your body supplies plenty of blood to your running muscles. Doing it every time before you run will increase the flexibility of your muscles and make them less prone to injuries.
Strengthen Your Calf Muscles
I do not intend on giving you the Arnold Schwarzenegger challenge here but you should work on your calf muscles to prevent Achilles tendonitis.
The Achilles tendon is a ligament that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The more you train and strengthen your calf muscles the thicker and stronger this ligament will become.
To give your calf muscles a good workout, do rope jumping for 5-10 minutes every day. Besides calf strength, the activity will increase your cardio efficiency and stamina as well.
Mix Up Your Workouts
Do not follow the same training regimen every day. Unless you are preparing for an upcoming competition, do high and low-intensity training on alternate days.
The low-intensity days will give your Achilles tendons a good break to recover and become stronger. The same is true for your nervous system as well.
Eat The Right Macro Split
Do not take your nutrition for granted. Always make sure that you are taking the right split of protein, carbs, and fats in your diet plan.
For a good start, hit 30% protein, 45% carbs, and 25% fats in your diet every day. Do it for a few days and notice what your recovery is like and how you feel.
If you are sore or fatigued, reduce the ratio of carbs and fats by a bit and increase the ratio of protein in your diet.
Rest Enough for Complete Recovery
The training and diet alone are not going to help you become a better runner. You will have to make sure your muscles and nervous system get plenty of rest for complete recovery.
If you ignore recovery, the build-up of stress in your body will halt your progress and make your body prone to injuries.
Shoot for the sleep of 7-8 hours at night in a single stretch and a nap of 20-30 minutes during the day.
Now that you know the effective and easy ways to prevent Achilles tendonitis, it is time to act upon your learning. The measures suggested in this guide will help you prevent the condition and strengthen the tendon.
If you are a professional runner, I have one extra piece of advice for you- visit your podiatrist regularly. Even if the measures suggested in this guide will keep the Achilles tendonitis away from you, a regular visit to your doctor will rule out any remaining ounce of chances for the condition to kick in.
I hope my guide on the easy ways to prevent Achilles tendonitis helped to reduce the fear of the condition in your mind. Probably, the guide deserves a quick share from you. Thank you.