More Tips For Beginning Runners
As promised, here’s the follow up to my last post, Five Tips for Beginning Runners.
One issue that’s bound to come up with running is that it can be hard on the body and care needs to be taken to avoid injury or discomfort. Potential problems include Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, foot pain, shin splints, calf strains, blisters, and if you’re uncoordinated and occasionally unfocused like me, maybe even bruises and scrapes on your hands and knees. I won’t go into that final category of injuries except to remind you that, yes, the scenery is pretty, but pay attention to where you’re going. Here are eight things you can do to prevent or alleviate other types of discomfort and injuries from running:
1. Wear good running shoes
Visit a local running specialty store for help in selection, and don’t be afraid to return the shoes if you try them a couple of times and they don’t feel right. Most stores have a 7 to 30-day return policy, but check with yours when you purchase the shoes.
2. Warm up properly before running
Walk and then jog slowly before picking up speed. I find as I get older I need to warm up longer — more like 10-15 minutes, where my younger friends feel ready in 5-10 minutes.
3. Lift weights to gain strength
Have a personal trainer make a good strength program geared toward runners or check back here to learn exercises to add to your current routine.
4. Stretch often to gain flexibility
Check out this video for some simple stretches you can do before or after a run and on off-training days. Remember to warm up lightly with some walking or other cardio for a few minutes before stretching.
5. Battle inflammation
Apply ice to sore muscles and joints for 15-20 minutes 1-3 times a day, and talk to your doctor about whether taking aspirin or ibuprofen as directed might be right for you.
6. Take care of your feet
If your feet are barking even after you’ve tried a few different pairs of running shoes and perhaps over-the-counter insole products, see a podiatrist who can determine if you need orthotics for a more effective footfall.
7. Cross train
Take some days off from running and do a different type of cardio. Mix in the elliptical, walking, swimming, cycling, etc to maintain cardio-fitness and reduce muscle and joint stress.
8. Get sports massages
Massages aren’t just a treat. For anyone involved in a fitness program, massages can relieve trigger points and other muscle and tendon stress points.
And, remember, if you’re experiencing pain beyond normal muscle soreness, you may just need to stop running for a few days (or decrease your workout intensity) and apply ice or see a doctor. You may be able to eease back into running again soon, but it’s important to listen to your body and to your medical professionals.
–Susan Carson, Contributing Writer
(Susan Carson is a businesswoman, certified personal trainer, and black-belt martial artist. Read more about her on the About page.)