Train Well and Prevent Injury!

Being a runner is a fantastic way to keep fit! This kind of exercise can be very challenging, but it is also extremely rewarding. Once you have got the hang of it, you will likely find that running is a fun activity, and is certainly one that will help to promote good health.

Motivation to Run

Finding the motivation to get started is a common obstacle for those wanting to get into running. However, once you push through this barrier you will soon wonder why you found it so difficult in the first place!

A good way to get started if you are struggling to get going is to begin by combining bursts of slow jogging with active rest periods of walking. You can then increase the amount of time that you jog for as you decrease the length of the rest periods. You can then gradually work to increase the pace at which you are jogging until you have built yourself up to a running speed.

Protection from Injury

There are many reasons why you might experience an injury whilst you are running. For example, you may have chosen unsuitable footwear that isn't going to support you properly, and therefore puts you at risk of falls. Or perhaps the terrain that you are running on is uneven and could cause you to slip or fall. 

Regardless of the reason for it, an injury can often have a long lasting negative impact on your physical and mental health. Furthermore, an injury could also deter you from continuing with your running ambitions, even once you are back on your feet.

The majority of running injuries are completely avoidable if you develop your practice at an appropriate pace, in an appropriate environment, and wear proper footwear.

Overtraining

Training too much or over-exerting yourself during a single training session is one of the quickest ways to give yourself a running injury. The best way to train safely is to start slow and to never increase your efforts more than 10% with each session. So if you run ten miles one day, then when you go out running again be sure not to run more than 11 miles. This will help your body to improve slowly and makes it less likely that you will damage anything!

All Round Fitness

It is essential that you work to strengthen the rest of your body as well as working on your running. Include weight training in your regime so that you are working all of your muscle groups and building strength, alongside improving your stamina.

It will also aid your running efforts if you partake in a separate cardio exercise routine to supplement your running training. Variety is key here, so be sure to include different forms of cardiovascular exercise. For example, one week you may add the rowing machine into your schedule, and the next week you could go for a long bike ride. Again, doing this helps to work different muscle groups which helps to keep your body fighting fit.

Running Technique

The way that your foot hits the floor might sound like a small thing to be concerned about but it can actually lead to injury if you are not running in an optimum way. Research suggests that if the foot hits the floor heel first then the impact is distributed more evenly, helping to prevent injury. However there are some runners who believe that allowing the foot to land mid-foot is the most protective way to run.

Similarly, the type of shoe that you wear to run can help to prevent injuries from occurring. It is best to choose a low drop shoe with an elevated heel.

Recovery Time

Taking the time to recover properly after a workout is just as important as giving it your all when you are out for a run. Make sure you have rest days where you do no strenuous exercise at all and make sure that you are properly nourishing your body to keep your energy levels up. 

Active rest days are a good way to encourage your body to recover whilst also keeping yourself moving. Active rest day activity may involve going for a walk, going to a simple yoga session, or for a light swim. The key here is to engage in low intensity exercise that is enjoyable. 

Basic Guidelines for Running

If you do not follow these basic guidelines when you are using running as a form of exercise then you are likely to suffer from a range of injuries. These injuries could vary from stress fractures to anterior knee pain syndrome. You may also incur further damage if you take a fall and harm other parts of your body. So train hard but train safe and you will be on your way to running well! 

References

1) http://www.runnersworld.com/health/the-seven-most-common-running-injuries

2) http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/injury-prevention/the-top-5-most-troublesome-running-injuries_11316