This is the time of year when many people decide to take up running as part of their New Years Resolutions. Running is a fantastic exercise and we want to ensure you are keeping yourself injury-free. So here’s our top running tips for beginners:
1. Warm Up & Cool Down
It’s important to ensure you are warming up/cooling down before any exercise and running is no different. Before your run you should do plenty of dynamic stretches to loosen up and warm up your joints. Dynamic stretches are designed to take a joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, moving a body part further with each repetition, which is ideal before a run to prepare your body for movement.
After your run, finish with static stretches (e.g. calf stretches, hamstring stretches amongst others) to prevent tightness setting in. Static stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint or a muscle that is minimally challenging. The focus is on relaxing the body part being stretched and letting it go further on its own. (Keep an eye out on our blog for a full post coming up on Dynamic v Static Stretching!)
2. Start Slowly
In order to reduce the risk of injury you need to start slow and build yourself up. Your body needs time to adapt to the new activity. Don’t run more than 3 times a week and to begin with you shouldn’t be running 2 days in a row in order to allow your body time to recover. Check out Apps like ‘Couch to 5K’ for great programmes on building slowly and steadily to a decent pace and distance.
3. Aches are Good, Pain is Bad
When you start a new form of exercise, you will often get an achy feeling in your muscles. You will typically feel when getting in and out of chairs and going up and down stairs for example. While achy muscles are a good sign that you’ve worked out, pain is a sign that something is wrong. Often it can be something simple which causes an injury (e.g. wrong footwear, weak core, tight muscles), however if left you risk developing into a more serious injury. If you feel any pain, our physiotherapists can help diagnose the problem and get you on track to fix it.
4. Cross Train
A good way to prevent injury from running is to take up an exercise such as yoga, pilates or swimming alongside it. This should be done in between running days as part of an active recovery. It will help to strengthen your muscles, improve breathing, increase flexibility and reduce the achy feeling in your muscles after you’ve run. Check out here for our pilates class timetable.
We hope these simple tips help you to remain injury-free. If you have any queries or need to make an appointment to see one of our Chartered Physiotherapists please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lee Chambers