Running is a great way to loose weight, increase your aerobic fitness and generally tone your body. It is a high impact sport and with the constant pounding and repetitive nature of the sport, injuries like shin splints, patella pain and ITB friction syndrome can be caused or irritated. When running as a beginner, it is very easy to make simple mistakes which could effect your progress as a runner and make you more susceptible to injuries. Our therapist Kiri Norton shares her top tips for beginner runners on how to run to your optimal level and avoid injury.
When you first start training, adhere to a progressive training program. This will allow your body to physiologically adapt over time and will reduce the risk of overtraining and Injury.
- Gradually increase your mileage
- Gradually increase the speed
- Gradually increase the amount of times you train per week.
Clothing and Footwear:
It is important to wear the correct clothing and footwear in order to get your best running time, and to reduce the risk of injury.
- Make sure you have trainers that are shock absorbers – shock absorbers will reduce the impact from running on your joints.
- If it is a hot day, consider wearing a hat to prevent heat stroke.
- Wear socks which will prevent blisters – There is nothing worse than being half way through a run and you have to stop because your shoes are rubbing.
- Consider orthotics for those that over pronate whilst running, this can improve the comfort of the shoe, as well as prevent injuries from occurring.
- Have 2 pairs of the same trainers, running shoes have a life span of around 400 miles – when one gets worn down, start wearing the other pair to break them in before an important race/event.
Keeping Up Your Energy:
It is vital to keep your energy sources full, in order to reduce injury or collapsing. If you get your energy intake correct, you will be able to run longer distances with a quicker recovery.
- Gummy sweets are a good way to boost your energy during a run, be sure to only eat a few as they can sometimes make you feel sick if you eat too many!
- If using gels, you would ideally want to use a more diluted energy drink as your mouth can become very dry and it can make you feel sick. We suggest you only drink water when using gels.
- Energy drinks are the most common way to get your energy, if you use these then it is important to use them whilst you train.
- Warm up and cool down
- Dynamically stretch before you run – lunges are a great dynamic stretch!
- Statically stretch after a run- touching your toes to stretch out your hamstrings is a nice way to loosen off your legs.
- Foam roll to keep your muscles nice and loose- try to foam roll the quads, hamstrings, ITB and calf’s. It is also beneficial to foam roll the gluts!
- Go for a sports massage to get those knots out and to loosen those muscles- If training regularly , a massage ever 3-4 weeks is a great way to maintain the flexibility of the muscles.
- Have rest days to allow your muscles to recover- If you train without resting, you can actually decrease the power within your muscles!
- Have an ice bath after a run for 10 minutes – this reduces inflammation and aids recovery.