Running is a great way to get fit and burns calories quickly. It is cheap, transportable and with weekly 5 km Park Runs now well established across Australia, you never need to run on your own again. However to prevent injury, try some of these simple injury prevention tips as recommended by Sports Medicine Australia.
Safety Tips for Running
- Before running, see a professional to identify potential musculoskeletal and health problems that may contribute to injury.
- Start slowly at a pace where you can have a conversation without breathlessness.
- Avoid doing too much too soon. Establish a graduated training program. Allow 24-48 hours rest and recovery between sessions. Cross training, cycling or swimming can be done on ‘rest’ days.
- Gradually build up speed and distance (no more than 10% per week).
- Cut down if you experience pain. Pain is a sign that the body is not adapting to the exercise load.
- Always warm up and cool down by jogging slowly.
- Injured runners should consult a professional about how to prevent re-injury.
- Good technique and practices will help prevent injury
- Include lower leg strength and flexibility exercises in your training program.
- Schedule runs for early morning or late afternoon and run in the shade, if possible to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Drink water or a sports drink before, during and after running.
- Wear shoes specifically designed for running that match your foot type. When buying new shoes, have them fitted by a professional and take your old ones with you so the salesperson can identify where your shoes wear the most.
Check Running Surface
- Run on a clear, smooth, even and reasonably soft surface. Avoid uneven surfaces, sand and concrete.
- Gradually introduce surface changes as you get use to running.
How Far to Run?
You may have a goal that you want to achieve such as running non stop for 5 km. You need to gradually build up to the distance to avoid doing too much too soon which can lead to injuries, There are many handy apps and websites that have well planned programs to guide you. My favorite is “couch potato to 5k“. All programs off the internet however do not take into account your general health, your weight, your injuries, your current activity levels and background in running. Generic programs may need to be adapted to take these factors into account. Hence, a physiotherapist consult can be a great investment to tailor a program to your specific needs and avoid injury along the way.
Posted by Sandy Woolman November 2018