How To Start Running Injury Free

Looking back I probably should have written this article in the first week of January.

I think this new year I’ve seen more people take up running than ever before, I struggle to go on a  car journey without driving past someone out for a run, this is great!

Also I’ve spoken to many people who have said they will be taking part in various running events like half marathons and 5ks this year which is brilliant again.

One thing though that many people struggle with when they start running is injuries.

I found this myself last year when I was training for the Llanelli half marathon, I of course consider myself a fit individual but I wasn’t used to running miles after miles being a 400m runner.

So when I did start to up my miles to 5+ miles I found myself constantly suffering with calve problems, Achilles problems, ankle problems and all sorts of lower body injuries which hampered my training.

I know that these sort of problems will be enough to put people off running permanaently so it is important when you start running you do it properly.

I’ve always been one of those people who push themselves and go for it which is why I went straight into running 5+ miles without actually doing shorter runs first which was a bad idea and is why i had so many problems.

Although you will probably feel like you can do more it is important to take it slow and build it up gradually if you aren’t a frequent runner, this way will help you to keep going and enjoy running.

Running is great for your fitness but is also a good social opportunity and it can be fun. There are loads of running clubs around you can join and loads of different events to enter so being able to run (no matter how far or fast) is a great opportunity.

So to help you I have come up with a list of 8 tips to help you start running injury free, this list is designed for people who haven’t run consistently before, if you have some running experience then you can maybe skip a couple of the tips (please feel free to comment below with your questions):

  1. Walk Before You Run – I know it is incredibly tempting to go straight into the run but if you haven’t done much running before then you should start with walking for the first couple of weeks. If you are feeling confident then you can alternate walking and running e.g. walk for 5 min, run for 3 min.
  2. Appropriate Footwear – I’m not saying that you need to spend £100 on top of the range running shoes but you need to find a trainer that gives you support. This applies to whether you are treadmill running or outdoor running, please don’t run in fashionable skinny sole shoes, you are asking for an injury. Find a nice pair of trainers with good support and you are good to go. If you are buying running footwear go for a size up to what you would normally wear, never a size down as this can squash your feet.
  3. Rest – To begin with always have a day off between running, never run two days in a row. It doesn’t mean you have to have a full day off you could do some easy cycling or a gym weights workout. Running is very strenuous to the muscles, ligaments and tendons so they would welcome a break.
  4. Don’t Focus Too Much On Distance – I know maybe you will be training for a certain distance event but to begin with depending on what your goal is just try and run for 10 minutes for example, and then a week later 15 minutes and so on. Build it up slowly depending on your goal. Be aware of your distance, there’s loads of good running apps you can get on your phone for free but don’t focus too much on it to begin with.
  5. Running Pace – I would recommend for the first 1-2 months of running you should run slightly slower than you think you should. This will allow you to run for longer and not risk injury by over exerting yourself.
  6. Find A Buddy – Some people like to run on their own but a lot of people enjoy doing it with a friend. Find someone or a club with people of similar ability to you and partner up, it can be a little boring on your own so this will help.
  7. Recovery Period – As I said your body is going through a lot so after your run (not so appealing in the winter) try an ice bath, this is great for your muscles. Also if you are struggling constantly with aches and pains then book in for a massage. Comment below if you would like to book a massage with me.
  8. Be Patient & Enjoy – Avoid signing up for an event unless you have done a little bit of running first, also plan for an event a few months away to give you enough time. This way you can build it up in a gradual patient manner rather than rushing through your training and hurting yourself. Last of all enjoy it!

So there we have 8 tips to start you off running injury free.

If you have any doubts about whether you are healthy enough to start running then visit your doctor first to get the go ahead, any other questions you have please comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Take care and good luck,

Jamie Stedman

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