How Do I Start Running And Prevent Running Injuries?
After an extremely long wait (and two false starts!), Saturday the 24th July 2021 was a day that many of us have been waiting for: the return of parkrun.
There’s been an amazing atmosphere in the Paul Gough Physio Rooms over the past week, with many of our patients excited to get back running with others… or jogging, or walking… with the return of the parkrun happening this weekend.
Lots of our patients took up outdoor exercise as a hobby over the last year or so, when gyms and wellness centres were closed, and this weekend has been the first occasion for people to take part in a real outdoor event with other people.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner (yet), almost anyone that wants to get active, can prepare themself to run or walk a 5k (or any length!) by slowly getting started. We’re going to provide our blog readers with some tips to help you start running or walking 5k safely, without causing running injuries.
parkrun is a huge community event, and there’s plenty of parkruns across the North-East. Getting involved with them is a great way to get fit and healthy, and the best thing about them is that they are totally free to do.
The whole ethos behind parkrun is that they’re all inclusive: you can run, sprint, jog, or walk the 5k distance and there’s absolutely no pressure on anyone. You don’t need to be a particular fitness level to join!
Even if you don’t run, and you jog, walk, or sprint, all our little health secrets are great for anyone, but they are especially great reading for anyone aged 50+, and for those that are looking to get more active now the summer is here and restrictions are easing.
This blog post is our ultimate guide to start running. We have all the expert tips to help you prepare for parkrun and reach the start and finish lines feeling confident. As well as the injury dangers to look out for!
Are your aches and pains worse post-lockdown? Read our blog post ‘Why has my knee, back, or neck pain got worse since lockdown?’.
Tips to protect your knees and legs from injuries…
Choosing the right footwear for running
Not everything is stylish unfortunately! Stick to velcro or lace shoes rather than those high heels! The tighter the laces are, the less movement you cause on your knees and legs, which is healthier in the long run (as long as your laces don’t restrict blood flow from being too tight).
The real problem is that you’ll never know what’s happening until you see some swelling or feel the heat leaving your knees. Your joints are under more added stress if your footwear isn’t protecting it by absorbing the shock from the pavement.
Look for the hidden dangers during running
You’d be wise to mix it up a little and alternative between beach, grassland and a nice flat tarmac surface and occasionally, hills or woodland is fine, too. Be wary of gravel and uneven surfaces, these can test your balance and cause unnecessary stress on your vital joints, especially the calf muscles that keep you up-right.
Stretching exercises for runners
One vital thing you can do to prepare yourself for running is to stretch before you go. Just some simple exercises to elasticate those muscles (especially in your legs) are key to preventing further injury!
Don’t know how to stretch properly? Watch our Senior Physiotherapist Jonny show you how in our new ‘Stretching exercises video’.
Tips to start running…
Prepare for the run
You cannot run effectively and safely without preparing! Creating a list of essentials that you might need is something that every top runner does.
H4: Here’s our basic essential list to get started:
- Pick appropriate clothes and footwear
- Choose the right water bottle
- Grab your fitness tracker (if you have one!)
- Light and breezy clothing
Get rid of those pre-run jitters!
If you’re feeling nervous, you’re not alone! Many new runners worry they’re “too slow” or they will be last or not finish at all. Facing your fears and overcoming them will give you a huge confidence boost.
Remember, that it’s not a competition. Because there’s such a wide range of abilities, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re only competing against yourself. How about setting a goal to do your best and have fun. Walk with your friends, smile, relax and enjoy the fresh air!
Feel proud of yourself after your run
Running or walking your first 5K (or 3.1 miles) is an exciting goal, a popular distance for first-timers and the perfect way to get active and have some fun while exercising.
Crossing the finish line of your first race will be something you’ll remember for a long time. And improving your personal best time is a goal that can continue to stay with you as a runner. But be warned… those feelings of accomplishment and excitement can be very addicting!
Tips on getting started at parkrun…
The parkrun and running community is free for everyone. If you’re not a fan of running on your own, they’re a great way to connect with other people. Most parkrun events encourage going for a post-run coffee too! It’s a great way to socialise and make new friends.
Are you getting ready to lace up your running trainers? Here’s how to get involved:
Find and register for your parkrun or 5k run:
You do need to register on the parkrun website, print off your barcode and turn up. It’s that simple!
You can find your nearest parkrun using the parkrun website event map.
You don’t have to run!
The parkrun community is for everyone and is an extremely supportive group, so you won’t feel alone in the race, no matter what your speed is or how long it takes. Getting involved with running in this way and learning your pace gradually, is essential to staying injury-free
Let us know if you’ve completed any Parkruns over the weekend, or if you’re looking for more inspiration to get moving by simply walking. Read our walking recommendations blog post ‘Four North-East walks for all ages’.
Happy running, jogging or walking!
We are here for you…
We are busier than ever as more and more people put their faith in private practices.
If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you.
Appointments remain limited and we are experiencing an exceptionally high demand for our physio services since UK restrictions were lifted, so please contact us immediately to avoid a long wait.
If you would like to get one of our limited slots, please click here to complete our enquiry form or CALL us on 01429 866771.
P.S. All of our staff have received their vaccine (read our vaccination blog post here).
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