Local experts explain how you can run long races and prevent typical injuries

Running right

TAMPA, Fla - Michele Clark runs the assignment desk at ABC Action news. She also runs races like the Gasparilla Distance Classic. But last night she took a wrong step and went down. “I tripped over a piece of raised sidewalk concrete in the sidewalk. And I did the natural thing, which is too stop myself, so I ended up skinning my knees and my arms in the process.”

“That's a very common thing for runners and we treat road rash during races as well," said Barry Shapiro, a chiropractor and former sports team doctor who has worked the medical tents at many professional races. The most common injuries? “Sprains and strains," he said. "Strains affect muscle, sprains affect joints.”

Shapiro recommended stretching beforehand but not going too far.

“A lot of people do this bobbing because they think they can go further," he said. "That's the worst thing you can do. You should go to the point where you can't go any farther, take a couple of deep breaths and go a little farther down. And before you come up, you should bend your knees so you don't tear or pull your hamstring muscles.”

The latest fad is to use foam rollers to hit those hard-to-stretch muscles. Also important: Your shoes. At Fit2run, they can analyze your gait or your style of running and make sure you're running in the proper shoes. “I always say shoes are the first most important thing, socks are second," said Abby Sims. "So you're going to want socks that take away the moisture from your feet so you can't rub and get blisters. No cotton socks!”

“If you have any kind of injuries that have been consistent over the years -- knee problems, ankle problems, foot problems -- after the race you want to ice it down. Twenty minutes of ice on the body part shuts the inflammation down and it will help you with the pain," Shapiro said.

Shapiro also recommended taking a hot bath or shower after you've iced your problem spots.

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