Most runners experience falling while running at least once during their time on the run, but some much more than others. Tripping during a run can lead to embarrassment, scrapes, bruises – and sometimes even worse.
Is it common to fall while running?
Unfortunately, it is quite common to fall while running. While many runners occasionally trip over the sidewalk, a rock or bump on their path, some are much more accident prone.
It is common to fall every once and a while when running on a particularly uneven terrain, but if you find yourself falling quite frequently, it might be useful to look into the cause of your tipping and falling.
Why am I tripping while running?
Most runners find themselves tripping over rocks, sticks, roots or just uneven sidewalk. These breaks or bumps in the path can create quite an obstacle if your foot lands right on top of them. The uneven terrain might cause your ankle to twist or even lead to you landing down on the sidewalk.
Some runners take long strides, which spread their bodyweight over a larger area and reduce their overall balance. Other runners don’t pick their feet up high enough off the ground and wind up tripping over every tiny stick or pebble along their path.
What to Do After a Fall While Running
If you’ve tripped while running, you’ll probably be a bit shaken up afterwards. Even the smallest, least destructive fall will interrupt your momentum and bring your run to a halt. Here are a few ideas to help safely make the most of the rest of your run.
- Take a moment to recover
- Pause the run
- Assess the injury
- Walk if needed
- Bandage or wrap any injuries
- Take a drink
- Resume running only when ready
If you’re lucky, though, you’ll be able to avoid falling when running altogether. Falling on your face, knees, hands or side while running can be painful, embarrassing and even lead to an injury. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to prevent a fall while running.
8 Tips to Prevent Falling While Running
Avoiding falling when running is actually easier than you might think. While some trips and falls may be unavoidable, many can be prevented with a few simple tweaks to your running routine.
Keep your eyes ahead.
One of the best ways to prevent falling when running is to be aware of what’s ahead. Running is a great place to get lost in your thoughts and really tune out, but unfortunately, that can lead to surprises up ahead.
Pay attention to the terrain – but keep your eyes up ahead. Forget about looking down at your feet because even if you notice a rock or bump in your path, it’ll be too late to adjust. Keep your eyes on the horizon and stay aware of what is up ahead.
Shorten your stride.
Taking long strides not only decreases your cadence, but it might decrease your balance as well. When your stride is long, your center of balance becomes less stable as your bodyweight is spread out over a wider area.
Shortening your stride forces you to take more frequent steps while you cover less ground in one movement. A shorter stride means better balance, a faster cadence, and less room for error with each step.
Improve your balance.
Speaking of balance, if you’re particularly prone to tripping while running, it might be beneficial to spend some time working to improve your balance. Many runners encounter bumps and cracks along their path but are able to catch themselves before falling.
However, if you have poor balance, even the smallest little stone can send you toppling. Adding a few simple balance exercises to your strength training routine might be all it takes to help you prevent a fall when running.
Adjust your foot strike.
Another part of your running form that could be causing you to fall more frequently is your foot strike. Landing on the heel or toe of your foot might be putting you at risk for poor balance and instability.
Instead, aim to land on the sole of your foot with a midfoot strike. Landing midfoot will promote optimal balance, reduce risk of twisting from side to side upon landing, and improve the likelihood that you recover from a bump or rock on your path before falling to the ground.
Slow down in uneven areas.
It goes without saying, but those rocky, uneven or slippery areas are places where runners are much more likely to fall when running.
If you arrive at a particularly uneven area, slow the pace or even walk until you are through. A minute or two at a slower pace is nothing compared to a few minutes completely stopped if you were to fall. It’s always better safe than sorry.
Run declines carefully.
Another area where you are more likely to trip while running is on a decline. Running downhill, even with a relatively mild grade, changes your center of balance, stride and speed. These three combined greatly increase your risk of falling while running.
To avoid this risk, always run declines carefully. Hold back as you descend and don’t let your speed get away from you. If you feel like you are running out of control, stop and regroup for a minute before getting started again.
Always use lights.
Running in the dark can be very dangerous if you don’t use proper lighting. Even sidewalks and neighborhoods with which you are familiar can present a surprising number of bumps and cracks when it’s dark outside.
To help see where you’re going and how your foot is landing, be sure to use lights when it’s dark or dim outside.
Run against traffic.
In every case, if you’re running on the road, you need to be running against traffic. Facing oncoming traffic is significantly safer than running in the same direction.
When running against traffic, you’ll be able to see what’s up ahead at all time – especially if you were to fall. Being able to get out of the way is essential if you find yourself falling when running in the road.
Tripping or falling while running is inevitable in some situations, but with the right precautions, you’ll be safe if you ever find yourself in this situation.