How to stay safe
Equipment: It’s really important to use the right kind of shoes for running and it’s really important to replace your shoes as required. Whitehouse recommend you visit a specialist running shop who can give you expert advice on the right footwear.
The right shoes for you are determined not just by the kind of running you’re going to be doing but also by how you run (your gait) and the shape of your feet.
Once you’ve picked the right style of running shoes it’s important to replace them at the right time; after 300-500 miles of use. If you don’t replace them or you run in shoes which aren’t appropriate then you significantly increase your risk of injury before you’ve even left the house.
Don’t run all the time: To just keep running and run some more make sure you don’t run all the time. A running programme which allows for consistent training should mix up your activities a bit. It prevents injuries and, let’s be honest, will keep your training a little more interesting.
Build up training steadily: Don’t jump in from no-running to running every day. It’s one way to almost guarantee an injury. Increasing the intensity of your training will, naturally, put more strain on your leg muscles and joints, stressing your limbs more. Repeatedly stressing your limbs will lead to overuse injuries; it’s all common sense stuff. It’s important to rest and stretch your muscles. Your body is designed to let you know when something is up; if your knee, ankle or anything else is bugging you then your body is telling you to ease off. You’re recommended to increase training by 10% each week.
Build up your core: Improving your strength and balance will improve your overall posture which improves running techniques. Learning “how to” run might sound a little odd, but it’s surprising how many of us are using a poor running technique which can make us more susceptible to injury. The NHS have a guide to running and your physiotherapist should be able to observe how you run and advise you further on improving your technique. They’ll also be able to advise you on good exercises to build your core tailored to your specific needs.
How to keep up motivation
If you’ve been running for a while you’ve probably got the motivation to continue, but if you’re new to the sport it’s not just injuries which can hold you up. Finding the motivation to carry on with a training programme can be tricky, especially if you’re coming back from an injury. Running with other people is a tried and tested method for keeping up motivation both to go out for a run initially and keep up at a good pace throughout the run. If you can’t find any friends or family to go with you then why not consider joining a running group? There are loads of friendly running groups dotted all over the place which you can join and you’re likely to make some new friends along the way.
Having something to aim for is also a great way of keeping motivation up. Take part in a few competitive runs over the year and you’ll not only get a sense of achievement when you finish but you’ll also get the opportunity to raise some cash for charity.