With the sun currently making more of an appearance it’s not surprising that we are seeing more and more people running.
One of the other benefits of running, which can often lead to problems, is that it takes little thought to do. That’s not to say that it’s easy, but that all you need to do is put on a pair of trainers and start moving one foot after the other and then, hey presto, you’re running. Unfortunately due to a lack of thought lots of people end up injuring themselves causing them to cease exercising altogether.
- Run well – Most of us learn to swim because we know a lack of technique can be very costly, but just because we can’t drown when running doesn’t mean that there aren’t costs to running poorly. Feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips, muscles and backs are some of the main body parts that can be permanently damaged due to poor running technique. So although it’s tempting to blast some music in your ears and try to forget about the running, it is really important to stay vigilant on how you are moving and get some coaching if you are unsure.
- Build up gradually – Just because you can physically drag your body on a 5km run doesn’t mean you should. If you’re new to running or haven’t run in a while, give yourself and your body a good chance to adapt to your newly chosen activity. Not only does your cardiovascular and muscular system need to adapt, but you need to make sure you don’t put too much stress on your joints and bones too quickly. Get comfortable and proficient at running smaller distances before progressing to more challenging runs. For the average person looking for general fitness, getting proficient at running at a mile using intervals is a good start. From here you could look to build the distance up to 5km before turning your focus to running 5km at a faster pace.
- Strengthen your body at the same time – As you get better at running it’s likely that your endurance starts to greatly exceed your strength, especially in terms of core and posture. Without this strength your body can have a hard time stabilising the major joints and trouble can soon follow. By taking time each week to develop strength through the body you can not only decrease the risk of injury but also increase the efficiency of your body during each run.
- Undo the damage – Running is a very repetitive exercise and so the risk of overuse injuries significantly increases in runners. Make sure to spend time each week, massaging and stretching the muscles used during the run and strengthening the muscles that aren’t used to prevent imbalances occurring.
- Mix it up – Not only does the repetitive nature of running make injury more likely it can also lead to performance plateaux’s and boredom. Stop this from happening by mixing up your running sessions with changes to distances, speed and terrains or using cross training which uses different forms of exercise, such as gym exercise or even a different sport to help strengthen and recover the body.
Hopefully some of these thoughts can help you both improve your running and keep you healthy so you can enjoy running all year round.