…. You wanted to run through winter but the cold weather got the better of you.
Our temperatures are warming up rapidly, in fact, it feels as if someone ignored the spring switch, and hit the summer switch instead. With that, many will dive into their shoe cupboards, find their trusty running shoes and hit the road. Before you dive into your cupboard, here is a list of things you need to do in order to avoid getting injured over the next few months.
- Don’t fall into the trap of manically stretching before the run. I am not sure where we got into the habit, I suspect it was introduced to us by Hollywood. Cue the runner, he/she steps outside, takes a deep breath, swings arms around rapidly, does a few hip swings, lunges down and tries a few times to touch toes and then disappears down the road like Forrest Gump. Just start your run slowly until you feel yourself warming up. The best time to stretch is after your run, and you really just need to stretch the muscles that are tight.
- As you step outside after your long hiatus you remember your last run. It was getting a bit chilly, but you had a full summers worth of training behind you, and so you were able to float over your favourite 10k route looking something like Bruce Fordyce in full flight. Armed with your stretches, you set out at a similar pace only to find yourself breathless, and even worse, potentially lining yourself up for an injury. You have time to get both fit and fast. Start slowly, please.
- You have just completed your first week of running and so you sit down with your diary and tally up the numbers. “Not bad, 20k’s.” you say to yourself, “Let’s hit 35 next week!” Hang on there champ. Try and increase distance by about 10% per week. You have got time, Comrades marathon is still months away. Increase too quickly, and your body will begin to break down. It might be in the form of shin splints, knee pain, ITB or just general fatigue.
- Make a decision this season to throw in some general strengthening work. Strong calves, hamstrings, quads and core muscles will both make you a better runner and at the same time will lessen your chances of injury over the next season. I know that this piece of advice will be ignored by many, because runners love to run and hate being caged indoors with megalomaniac muscle builders at the local gym. However, you will benefit immensely from a bit of cross training.
- Take a look at your shoes. They were designed to protect you for about 900k’s. Anything more than that, and you might be guaranteeing an injury. A good pair of shoes, fitted at a specialized running shop, is a lot cheaper than:
a. Getting the wrong pair of shoes on sale.
b. Thinking because you are getting them from a large store that they are cheaper than a specialist store. Specialist stores have to be price competitive, and will normally take more care than the bigger places.
c. Putting off buying a new pair of shoes in an attempt to save money and getting an injury. Meds, x-rays, and massages will be a lot more expensive that getting shoes on time.
We take running shoes very seriously and offer two services.
1. We are happy to put you on our treadmill, film you and analyse the footage. Questions are asked regarding your running goals and any pain you might be experiencing during your runs.
2. We also do a runners leg assessment. This takes an hour and we have helped hundreds of runners with this program. You can read more about our approach here – http://sbrsport.me/2012/09/15/runners-leg-assessment/
Enjoy your running, stay safe, and injury free.