Have you ever considered taking up running but weren’t sure where to start? Well this blog will outline just exactly how you can go from contemplating to actually hitting the pavement.
Many novice runners make the classic mistake of doing too much too soon. This is what Physios tend to refer to as overload. When too much stress is placed upon the body in rapid succession this can lead to various running related injuries such as Achilles tendon pain, anterior knee pain, lateral hip pain, and shin splints to name a few.
Another common injury seen in runners who may do too much too soon are Bony stress reactions. These occur due to bone tissue inflammation, and may even result in complete bony stress fractures. These injuries can have serious consequences if left untreated.
To minimize the chance of these injuries occurring here are a few tips to keep in mind:
This means taking things easy to begin with. For example, you may begin with a walk jog programme where you walk for 1-2 mins and jog for 3-4 mins and repeat this for 2-3 cycles. This allows your body time to adapt to the loads running imposes while allowing active recovery during the walk cycle.
You may do this 2-3 times per week to begin with but should be able to progress relatively quickly increasing the amount of jogging time and decreasing the walking time.
2. Be mindful of other stressors
When our body is under immense stress due to poor sleep, increased stress levels at work, having eaten highly inflammatory food, or recovering from illness, these factors may predispose runners to a higher chance of injuries, as they all can lower our tolerance to pain.
To make running enjoyable and optimize running performance things like getting good quality sleep, eating a balanced diet, and managing life stressors through relaxation can be extremely beneficial.
This is a hotly debated topic with arguments for and against supported shoes. In recent times there has been a shift towards running with minimalist shoes to improve foot muscle capacity. A recent systematic review found no evidence that prescribing footwear based on foot type reduced running related injuries in adults, although this was done in a military population.
The important thing with footwear is that you feel comfortable running in your shoes and remain mindful if they are contributing to any associated running discomfort. It is a good idea to wear new shoes in, around the house to allow them to adapt to your feet.
4. Be SMART with your goals
Goal setting can be tricky to navigate. Make them too easy and you don’t push yourself hard enough, or make them too difficult and you risk disappointment and potentially giving up all together.
It is a good idea to utilize the SMART goals principle, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. For example you could set yourself a goal of completing 4 km in 25 minutes x 3 per week in 6 weeks. Goal’s should serve as a rough guideline but remain fluid, meaning you can adjust them if you are exceeding expectations or maybe aimed a little high.
5. Supplement running with resistance training
Another way to make your running experience as enjoyable as possible is to include resistance training in your . This not only has benefits for multiple body structures and systems, it has also been shown to improve running economy and power input. There is also evidence that resistance training can be preventative against running related injuries.
Many people would like to start running but don’t know where to begin. Above I have outlined some tips to consider as a novice runner. They will hopefully provide some guidance and a starting point.
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