New Year is the time of year we think about making resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead and running often seems like a good place to start. It’s inexpensive, convenient and straight forward enough and we have friends who run who seem happy, fit and contented so why then do we have so many unanswered questions when it comes to taking the plunge. Here is Fit4-Physio’s guide or golden rules to getting started, running well and reducing your injury risk (or basically the things we wish we’d know when we started…)
1. Invest in a proper pair of running shoes. Visit a running shop and take advice on the shoes that work best for your feet and style. This simple step will help you with years of pain free running. We like www.accelerateuk.com
2. Start slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day and in order for your body to adapt to your new training load, mileage needs to be increased gradually. Build your weekly distances up gradually and never increase mileage by more than 10 % each week.
3. Set yourself objectives. Whether you measure your time, distance or speed, pick one to monitor regularly and watch your running progress.
4. Vary your training. Variety is after all the spice of life and it’s no different when it comes to running. To be a good runner, it’s not just about running. Include strength training, gym classes and yoga in your routine to ensure a balanced body and mind.
5. Keep your running fresh. Try to avoid getting into bad habits at the start by exploring new routes regularly, it will help to prevent boredom and overuse injuries.
6. Push yourself. Don’t be put off seeing what your body can achieve. Try running faster in interval sessions or harder by doing hill reps to maximise your fitness gains.
7. Fuel yourself properly. Not just before and after your runs but throughout each day, every day. Fuelling your body with the right food and drink will help you burn calories more efficiently when you run and this will improve your stamina. Good fuelling will also help with recovery in between runs.
8. Invest in some good quality running kit. Make sure your kit is suitable for each season and you have somewhere to carry keys, money or phone.
9. Stretch after each run. Don’t just reserve this for the days you run, dedicate 10-20 minutes at least once a week to stretching/foam rolling. Although you may not feel the benefit at the time, over the course of weeks, months and years these stretching sessions could be the vital ingredient in your training routine that keeps you on the road.
10. Hydrate regularly. Get the balance right between not drinking too much prior to a run and hitting the road dehydrated. You’ll soon work out how far you can run before you get the call of nature…
11. Train every 2-3 days. It’s easy to get carried away at the beginning when you start running but running 2-3 times a week is sufficient to progress quickly with your fitness whilst allowing your body enough rest and recovery. Aiming to run too frequently can also be difficult to accommodate and will only leave you frustrated if it doesn’t happen.
12. If in doubt, wait out. If you have nagging doubts that you are less than 100 % or feel there’s a reason why you shouldn’t run then listen to your body. Better to wait and to be fully fit then to drag yourself out half-heartedly. If you’re still not sure then book an appointment with Rich or Charlie at Fit4-Physio who can help put your mind at rest or put you on the path to recovery.
Whether 2016 sees you achieve a Park Run personal best, conquering the ‘King of the Hill’ in Sheffield’s half marathon, getting muddy in one of the hundreds of local fell races or completing your first marathon Fit4-Physio are here for you every step of the way. From gait analysis, sports massage, physio assessment and treatment or bespoke training programmes, get in touch to see how we can help you.
Rich and Charlie