Thinking about getting into running (again)? A few things to consider before you start!

With the weather warming up, mornings and afternoons getting lighter and the desire to get back into some exercise, consider these few pointers to ensure a smooth transition back into your running. Whether the goal is fitness, an event (fun-run), for weight-loss or just maintaining general health and well-being, it is important to take your time and make a solid plan that will take you to the desired outcome, and ensure you achieve your best results without any setbacks. Here are a few simple points to follow.

Allocating Enough Time
Often we see people trying to cram in running sessions and reach a “quota” of kilometres because they might feel pressured and are falling behind in their preparations. When you don’t allow enough time to build up your pace/distance etc. this can lead to having inadequate recovery times, increased physical demand during the running sessions and ultimately a potential injury/issue that arises.
It is vital to allow enough time and plan in order to allow for your body’s tissue, bones, muscles and joints to adapt and strengthen. Rapid changes in training load will increase the chance of an injury, and ultimately be putting you further back than when you started.

Over-emphasising Flexibility and Stretching
In no way is flexibility or stretching a bad thing – rather that often people over-emphasise the need for it in their routine. It is a vital part of training, however just as beneficial is strength and conditioning which I will discuss below. A better approach would be to dedicate half the time to flexibility, and the other half to some simple strength exercises that are just important to prime and prepare the muscles for your running.

Neglecting Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning doesn’t necessarily mean “bulking up” or hitting the gym. Instead it is taking the time during your training to do these exercises that have been shown to reduce the risk of injury, improve your running speed/velocity and efficiency. Examples of these exercises could include;

1. Calf raises- both double and single leg
2. Balance/stability work
3. “Active” warm-up exercises- to get your muscles firing and ready to go.

The Extra One-Percenters
The things that will get you that bit further with your running, and can be the difference between shaving off those few seconds on your PB.

1. Allowing enough rest time between exercise sessions and good quality rest – including good quality SLEEP!
2. Hydration/Fuel– both before, during if appropriate and after your running
3. Enjoyment – make sure you feel the great benefits of your exercise

All of these are some simple things to consider as we approach the end of the year. While it may seem easy in theory, sometimes it can be hard to implement, and advice is needed. Please feel free to contact us at any time, or book in with us today.

References:
https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/50/5/273
https://thesports.physio/2017/03/14/pump-up-the-volume
https://www.physio-network.com/5-running-mistakes-to-avoid

Written by Roberto Bulich
Physiotherapist
South Perth Physiotherapy

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