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How do I build up to longer/more frequent runs without aggravating an old ankle injury?

James Weaver (Milford, CT) on Dec 13, 2011
1 user found this answer helpful
First I would get your ankle checked out by your doctor to see why it gets aggravated. If you don't go to your doctor, then I would keep it wrapped while running. Stretch before and after your run. Ice it when necessary. Wear proper running shoes. I would suggest you run on a rubberized track instead of running on the road or a dirt trail. The track will have less impact on your body and ankle.
Franklin Antoian (Delray Beach, FL) on Dec 13, 2011
You will have to do some specific exercises to strengthen your ankle before you can run longer distances. What was the old injury?
John McGuire (Brooklyn, NY) on Dec 13, 2011
There are a lot of options here. A proper weight training program that shifts your focus between muscular endurance and strength training will absolutely help to increase your distance running. Another interesting option is to take up another form of low impact cardio training. Biking or using an elliptical are fine options, but if you can find your way to a pool and get some serious swimming in, that would be ideal. There was a study done back in the late 70s and early 80s, in which they were looking into muscle specificity. They took swimmers, bikers and runners, and tested the 3 types of athletes in the other 2 modes. What they found is that bikers couldn't run or swim at a high level and runners were OK with biking, but not very good swimmers. But swimmers were able to both bike and run at a high level. Just thought you might find that interesting. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me!
Frank Baptiste (New York, NY) on Dec 13, 2011
1) Try running faster, rather than longer. Because of the difference in mechanics jogging is actually much harder on the joints in the body than sprinting. While sprinting, the foot strikes directly beneath the body (verses out in front) and as a result the impact forces are far less. 2) Stay off the pavement. Stick to flat, stable surfaces, but try finding a dirt, gravel, cinder trail. Better yet, a rubber core track. Your body will thank you and you'll be able to log some extra mileage next run, and over the years. 3) Regain mobility and stability at the injured ankle. Chances are if you've strained/sprained one of your ankles you have some asymmetrical imbalances. Work on improving flexibility in the calf of the injured ankle by incorporating stretches and self myofascial release. Then add some stability work: Try balancing on one foot on for 2-3 30 second sets a few times per week. Progress by closing your eyes and when you've mastered that, move on to an unstable surface.