Hi all. It’s Physio Phriday again!
This week we are going to look at….
TIPS FOR THE NOVICE RUNNER
I think it’s fair to say that running has taken the country by storm over the past few years. It has become the new “in” activity and as a result we are seeing a lot of running injuries in the clinic. For this reason I think it’s really important to address the key steps to a successful running career.
People who say “Oohhhh the great thing about running is that it’s free” are unfortunately mistaken. The pair of runners that have been sitting in the back of your wardrobe since sixth year P.E are not ok for starting your running career. I’m not saying you need a €150 pair of runners, you just need a pair that have sufficient shock absorbency to protect your joints. If you pound the pavements with old runners you will end up getting knee or back pain due to the impact which can then result in cartilage damage or other soft tissue injuries. Your best bet is to go into a specific running shop and have your gait analysed so that you can get the most appropriate runners for YOU. We all have different feet and therefore must realise that the same runners don’t suit all of us. They will last you a long time and will definitely help avoid visits to the Physio.
So you’ve got your runners, now it’s time to invest in some running gear. The high street stores have jumped on the running bandwagon too, providing trendy gear for next to nothing. The days of having to splash out on designer sports gear are long gone. Sports bras are of utmost importance. Normal bras reduce breast movement by 30%, however a good sports bra achieves closer to 60% (and will help avoid back pain and black eyes!)
If you feel good, you’ll run better and feel more motivated.
Start off slow!
Let’s face it…Its going to take a while before you become Sonia o’ Sullivan. Like any new activity, it’s really important to wean yourself in. Start off jogging for one minute and walking for a minute. Once this becomes easy, start jogging for 2 minutes and walking for one…and so on. There are plenty of podcasts and running program’s out there to get you going such as the ‘couch to 5k’ series. It’s a great intro to running and will allow you to steadily push yourself to running a full 5k without stopping.
Warming up and down
Don’t just walk out the front door and start running. Ensure to start off with a brisk 5 minute walk to prepare your body for a gentle jog. From here, up your pace slowly. Once you’re warm it is important to stretch your main muscle groups for running; quads, hamstrings, calves and gluteals. As a cool down, walk for 5 minutes and put on an extra layer to stop you from getting cold.
Shouldn’t running be natural for us all? Not really. Proper technique can make a huge difference. Try and do the following things to improve your running efficiency;
1- Relax your shoulders
2- Look approximately 40m ahead
3- Keep your hands relaxed
4- Try and regulate your breathing
5- Stride it out..avoid baby steps
You will soon find your own running style. Get your friends to have a look at you to see if you’re tensing up or rigid as you stride The more effortless your style is, the more energy is conserved. Furthermore, the looser you run, the less likely you are to end up with shoulder or neck pain.
Bring a friend!
Running with a pal is a great way to motivate yourself. We are all experts at coming up with excuses to avoid exercising. They say the hardest part of a run is putting on your runners. A good idea is to arrange to meet a friend a couple of times a week to give you that push to get out into the fresh air. It will also give you that motivation to pick up your stride and keep up with your companion. Hey… a little bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone!!
So there you have it…my quick guide for the novice runner. Running is such a wonderful way to exercise. It gives you a ticket to fresh air, cleansing time, your own thoughts and an immense feel good factor. I for one haven’t found another form of exercise that fulfils me like running does. So go for it….challenge yourself….you can do it.