Running is one of the easiest and cheapest fitness activities to perform. Whether you are looking to kick start your health regime, run with your dog on the beach or train for a marathon, the health benefits of running are endless. Unfortunately runners make simple errors with their training and end up injured. Here are some tips to keep you running.
Have the right equipment
- Running shoes are individual and each foot and body will require a different shoe.
- Running shoes also wear out and have a shelf life, with research recommending runners change shoes every 500-800 km whereas minimalist shoes wear out sooner and ideally need replacing every 400- 500 km.
- Before you can run you need to be able to walk comfortably for an adequate amount of fitness. Once you can comfortably walk at a fast pace for 30 minutes daily, you may start to jog for 1 minute then walk for 4 minutes.
- Slowly start to increase how many minutes you jog for compared to walking over a few weeks, until you are able to jog continuously for 5 minutes, building up to 20 minutes of jogging
Rest to recover
- Often injuries occur when we do too much too soon, aim to have rest days, ideally when starting a program we will run every 2 or 3 days, building to 3 times a week of 30 minute run.
- Rest days are when our body has time to recover, you may stretch, do yoga or strength training on these days.
Prevent running injury with good mechanics.
- Poor biomechanics can lead to injury, therefore you may want to have your running biomechanics checked by a professional or physiotherapist before starting a running program, often biomechanics are able to be improved with training, strengthening or orthotics.
- Common errors may include striding too far, having flat feet or feet that roll in or knees that collapse inwards.
Mix it up-Variety adds spice
- To avoid getting stale make sure you mix up the terrains, duration and running pace to keep you improving and prevent getting injured.
- Run on sand, grass, stairs, hills and trail runs to add variety to your running sessions and keep getting stronger.
- It is also important to mix up your pace, once you can run 3 times a week for 30 minutes comfortably, you may add in an interval session.
- Interval sessions are where you add in bursts of speed, followed by either active rest of walking/ jogging at slow pace or rest. Repeated several times.
- Fartlek training is another good way to introduce interval training where you can add faster paced running every minute or so to your normal run.
Get strong- strength training to enhance performance and prevent injury
- Having strong muscles, particularly in the lower body assists us in remaining injury free.
- Keeping good muscle balance also assists in improving our running performance.
- Running uses many muscles, so it is important to strengthen these, particularly the gluteal, quadriceps, calf and hamstring muscles.
- Dedicate 2-3 times per week for strength training including exercises such as:
- Calf raises
- Step ups
- Remember everyone is individual therefore may require specific exercises for your program
- DON’T forget the core and upper body, simply incorporating a few exercises for the core and upper body will ensure you have a strong core for your legs to power your running with.
Keep nimble- stretch that body
- Aim to dedicate at least 10 minutes to stretching after a run, keeping the body flexible may prevent injury and allow more mobility
Running is a great form of exercise providing many health benefits from clearing your mind after a busy day, keeping those unwanted kilos off, to improving strength and fitness. Aim to get into a consistent routine and stick to it. The early days in a program can be tough but the rewards are great and get easier as you improve. Make sure you listen to your body and only make slow progressions to reap the rewards of a fitter and healthier you.
Contact Grand Slam Physiotherapy if you would like to start a running program or would like a running assessment, (03) 5277 2151