Running is a popular activity because it comes with low start-up costs, meaning that it can be done almost anywhere and with only a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of running shoes. But if you’re a beginner hitting the sidewalks this spring, it’s important that you read up on some safe running techniques first — otherwise, you’ll risk injury.
Here are our top tips for safe running:
As we age, our bodies get less flexible and more prone to injury. And if you’re new to running, your inexperience means you’re at higher risk for aggravating an old injury. Before you start training in earnest, assess your health. Have that aching knee or sore hip checked out. If you’ve got lingering injuries that haven’t been addressed or never fully healed, check with a sports medicine specialist to discuss how you can safely begin running.
Pay a visit to a shoe shop where you’re sure to find a knowledgeable staff member who can help you find the best shoe for your gait and foot. Many independent shoe shops or sporting goods stores will be able to conduct a gait analysis, which analyzes how your foot will strike pavement when running. Knowing this will help you select the best shoe for your foot. It’s important that you don’t skimp on shoes. Be prepared to pay as much as $100 for a pair of high-quality running shoes. (list some local resources & link to their websites)
Ease Into It
Doing too much too quickly is an easy mistake to make. It’s important to give your body time to get used to the exertion. Beginners should start each run with a gentle warm-up that can include quick walking, knee lifts, and stair climbs. For the first few weeks, it’s essential to ease yourself into your run. Start out by walking at a fast pace, then switch into a jog. When you need to rest, start walking again. Keep alternating and gradually decrease the amount of time you spend walking until you’re able to maintain a slow, steady jog. Only once you’re able to do that can you safely increase your pace and distance.
Time to Rest
Exercise is hard on your muscles and it’s important to give your body time to rebuild and recover. The normal muscle-building process that makes you stronger happens over time. If you set off on another run before you’ve recovered from the previous run, you’ll feel sore, tired, and sluggish and will be more prone to injury.
Running as a beginner means going out two or three times per week, every week, until you’re comfortable enough to increase the frequency of your runs. It’s better to run two or three times per week, each week, as opposed to running six days per week one week and then not running at all for the next three weeks.
Listen to Your Body
As you become more experienced with running, you’ll learn to distinguish workout-related muscle soreness from pain that should be taken more seriously. If you do feel something other than workout-related muscle soreness, don’t run. Running through pain is never a good idea. And if the pain persists, don’t let it linger — contact your doctor.
While running can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy the nice weather, injuries can and do happen. If you suffer any type of running injury, it’s important to consult an orthopaedic specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. For expert evaluation and treatment of sudden injuries, choose UB OrthoCare. Whether you’re a beginner or an elite marathon runner, you can come to us for compassionate, expert care.