Out on my morning run this morning I couldn’t help to notice that all the regular running tracks are full of runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and experience, which is great.
But with people changing their exercise regimes due to the closing of gyms and sports this could lead to new stress and potential injury.
Here are a few tips to manage returning to running to keep you fit and injury free.
Firstly, ensuring you prepare is important. Checking your running shoes, socks and other equipment such as foot orthoses are suitable and ready to hit the pavement. This could avoid blisters or in extreme cases injuries due to changing our running pattern to avoid pain.
Warm up and cool down practices are also an important part of preparing to hit a Personal Best after rolling out of bed and out the front door is not the best approach and exposing yourself to higher speed or load quickly can lead to injury.
A gentle running pace with a few mobility drills for 5 minutes to work up a little sweat is a good starting point for a warm up.
Loading over the short and long term is important to avoid injuries and also get the desired fitness effects. Large spikes in load are risky especially for soft tissue injuries.
So, if last week you ran a total of 5 kilometres, then 15-20 kilometres is not a good idea for this week!.
Increasing each run by small amounts over a longer time period is a much safer and smarter way to introduce new loads.
Rest or recovery is just as important as load, as this is when your body does all the wonderful repair and remodelling to give you those killer calves and the ability to last longer and run harder.
Plan your running week to avoid running big sessions on consecutive days.
This will give your body enough time to recover and adapt to the new load.
Plan to finish your sessions with a cool down, including some gentle exercise or stretching is a great way to kick start the recovery process is important to minimise your risk of running injuries.
Lastly, our favourite tip is to plan some decrease or de-load in your training every 6-8 weeks to avoid chronic loading related injuries.
This is a great chance to give yourself a pat on the back, do a little less in each session, and feel good before applying all these tips and ideas to your next 6-8 week training block of happy running!
By James Craig – Physiotherapist at our Payneham clinic.