Are you a seasoned runner training for a marathon or a novice who has decided to increase their activity and fitness levels? Whatever your running ability it is important to ensure that your training is designed in a way to allow your body to adapt to the intensity of the activity and that you recognise the early signs of common problems experienced by runners so you can take prompt action.
If you are starting out:
- Get an appropriate pair of trainers. Some sports shops will have staff who are able to provide advice on which trainers would suit your foot posture and training plans.
- Start training slowly. If you do not walk far or often then try a walking programme first, then build up to a walk and light jog interval session i.e. 2 minutes walk and 2 minutes light jog. This way your body can get used to the exercise and get stronger so that the joints are protected when you progress to more running.
- A warm up for running can be as simple as a walk – gradually increasing the pace over 3-5 minutes. You can introduce dynamic stretches – this is when you stretch the muscle but do not hold the stretch.
- At the end of the walk or run then you need to stretch. This can help prevent muscles getting sore and tight post exercise. You should stretch all the muscles that you have used so really focus on the legs, although you can do some back and arm stretches as well.
A common problem for runners can be a tight ITB, a good stretch for this when is;
Other common issues for runners can be hip, knee and foot pain. If you experience pain in these areas ensure you are warming up and cooling down when training. If you feel that you are doing this then try reducing your training intensity until symptoms improve. If symptoms persist then seek advice from your Doctor or a Physiotherapist – early intervention usual means less treatment and less time rehabilitating.
Remember this is general advice. Before embarking on an exercise programme consult your doctor. If you experience shortness of breath or pain you should cease exercise and seek medical advice.