Running is a great sport. Personally I find that it is much easier to get injured playing other sports where there is more lateral and sideways movement or danger (thanks friendly soccer game for the calf strain!) There are things we can do to reduce risk of injury or harm which keeps our motivation and love of running fresh. It is worth always listening to your body when you are starting out. As you gain experience you will learn when to save yourself for another day or when you can push through certain niggles. Remember motivation is one of the main factors and anything that takes away from that can be a hindrance to your fitness goals.
  • Always warm up and cool down by jogging slowly: it is way more effective than static stretching. Be sneaky and add it to your mileage for the day.
  • Avoid doing too much too soon: cross train, enjoy rest days and gradually build up to your goal distance.
  • Include lower leg strength and flexibility exercises: it can be part of your cross training and speeds you up. Squats and yoga stretches are great examples.
  • Careful of the heat: run early a.m or late p.m or run in shaded areas.
  • Gradually introduce surface changes: used to running on the beach? road? or track? A change of surface takes getting used to and can be as dramatic for the body as heading out for an untrained run. Add new surfaces gradually to your work out to prevent injury and make a successful transition.
  • Forget the MP3 player: Ok it might keep you going but make sure you don't become oblivious to traffic, cyclists or the person you might of otherwise chatted with on your run.

Based in Australia, Grahak Cunningham (www.grahakcunningham.com) is a motivational speaker and business speaker and four time finisher and 2012 champion of the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race, which is the world’s longest ultra-marathon. He can’t face the 3100 this year and is having a break.