While it can seem intimidating at first, running is a fantastic way to stay fit, improve your mood and spend time outdoors. With September upon us, the high heat of the Okanagan summer is behind us, and the promise of cooler autumnal weather makes the thought of jogging on the KVR a joy.
While this all sounds very idyllic, newer runners can often find themselves injured, fatigued and disheartened when the going is a little harder than they thought it would be when they first started their new hobby, and may even be forced to stop running. While unfortunately this undoubtedly happens, with a little preparation and help from the right people, you can leave your aforementioned problems in the dust and meet your running goals. Read on to learn 4 tips that new runners shouldn’t miss!
1 – Don’t overdo it when you start
I get it; you’ve started running, and now you want to do a Forest Gump and just keep going. While this may sound like a good idea at the time, it unfortunately is a great way to get injured and burnt out. Running is a very physically demanding sport, both physically and metabolically, and it can place a lot of strain on your body.
Our bodies all have the capacity to increase the distance we can run, but they have to first adapt to running to realize this capacity. What this means is that we need to gradually increase the distance and duration we are running to avoid injury and burnout.
Almost all running injuries arise from increasing how much you are running too quickly (this also applies for experienced and even professional runners – if they take a few months off running and then return to their pre-break distances, they have a high chance of getting injured). If you build up gradually, you are much less likely to become injured, and your body will adapt to the activity better.
2- Create a training plan – and stick to it
Like most aspects of life, if you have a plan for something, it generally will go better. Running is no different. There is an almost infinite amount of running training plans out there, and it is easy to get lost in the mix.
Generally speaking, pick one plan and stick with it. For totally novice runners, the run-walk method may work well for you – run for 10-30 seconds, and then walk for 1-2 minutes for the duration of your run. If that is too easy, try running for 1-5 minutes, and then walk for 1-2 minutes – you can increase the time running as you progress, but you always will walk for short periods at set intervals to give your body a rest. This technique can be used all the way through to running marathons!!
3- Cross training is great for runners
The typical runners mentality is to run, run and run. I can put my hand up to falling into this trap. Unfortunately, if you only run and don’t do any other kind of cross training, you are more likely to become injured and you may not develop the strength in your legs and core to help reach your running goals.
If you are on a running plan, try and make one of your weekly work outs a cross-training session – this could be riding a bike, going for a swim, or having a gym workout. By doing so, you will be giving your body a break from the constant impact it has to endure during running, while helping to improve your cardio and strength. Doing a weekly leg-workout will help you to both improve your running ability, but help reduce the chance of getting injured.
4 – Get a running assessment
The way that you run, otherwise known as your running form, is one of the most important things to consider for both new and experienced runners. This is because an improper running form can lead to you wasting energy, increasing the impact to your knees and hips, and having a higher chance of injuring yourself.
Our therapists are able to assess your running form on a treadmill in our clinic and help you improve it. They are also able to advise you about other aspects of your running, such as advice on appropriate footwear, and provide hands-on treatment, as needed. Be sure to call our clinic at 250-493-1152 to book in with one of our therapists who can help get you on track with your running!