As 2023 begins, most health kicks start. One of the main activities people start is running. This type of exercise is great because it promotes cardiovascular fitness, muscle growth but also provides the “feel good factor”, being a great asset to mental health as well as physical health. Despite us really encouraging you to participate in exercise, it is important that when starting running you make sure precautions are taken to prevent injury.
So here are some of our best tips in helping you warm up, cool down and recover properly.
1. Manage load
Pushing for new goals? As they say, “slow and steady wins the race”. Most people think to get personal bests, the more you do the better? No! particularly if you are a new runner or have had an extended break over the winter.
The most common injury in runners is often patella/ Achilles tendinopathy because of overload of the tendon from the impact / and pressure on the structures during running. The main thing a tendon hates is going from 0 to 100% in a short period, so our advice is to take your time, build up your distance/ time slowly.
For example, if your normal distance is 3k, only add 10% on the next time, 3.3k.
2. Warm up
A warm up sounds so simple yet this is the biggest part of the run that mostly everyone misses! Not only does it prepare you mentally for a run, it also facilitates blood flow to the muscles.
3. Cool down
Following a run, it is always important to cool down. This is to promote recovery of the muscles. Stretching your glutes, hamstrings and calves are key however whether you are a sprinter or a long-distance runner, we all run with our arms right? Don’t leave these out!
4. Find a running partner
This is not a Physiotherapy point but finding a running partner for these winter nights will be a great way to keep motivation.
Bringing in strength training will not also be a key asset to preventing injury, it will also help improve your running form. Completing whole body strength training both prepares your body to tolerate the demands of running whilst also improving stability and strength of the accessory muscles
6. Don’t be afraid to walk
If you are totally new to running, starting with a mixture of walking and running is perfect. The couch to 5k is a brilliant and safe tool to start. See below: