Do you dream of becoming a runner? Lots of people do. Who knows how many times “run a 5K” has made it onto a list of New Year’s resolutions or life goals.
If you want to become a runner, what is holding you back? Are you not sure how to start? Do you doubt your ability to achieve your fitness goals? Are you afraid of becoming injured? If you’re worried about sustaining injuries, let us put your mind at ease — there are plenty of ways you can minimize your risk of becoming injured as a result of running.
Before (and After) Running, Stretch!
Did you know that stretching is a powerful protector against injury? Stretching promotes circulation, improves athletic performance, reduces tension in your muscles, gets your body ready for running, helps restore mobility post-injury, and reduces your risk of becoming injured while running.
Runners should make simple stretching part of everyday life. Learn how to stretch before a run here.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
When you are ready to hit the road running, warming up can feel like a chore. But, warming up doesn’t take long and is crucial in the prevention of injuries. The most straightforward way to warm your body up pre-run is to walk for about 5 minutes.
Keep Body Strain to a Minimum
Once you have stretched and warmed up, what’s next? The run! But, not just any type of running will do. Those who run in a way that increases strain on the body put themselves at a higher risk of injury; therefore, it is important to reduce strain while running. Here’s how you do this:
- Increase your pace as you run. Don’t just take off in a sprint.
- The Canadian Physiotherapy Association urges runners to “use the run/walk technique – start with a two-minute run/one-minute walk, gradually increasing your run time.”
- Don’t overexert yourself. If you can’t carry on a conversation as you run, your breathing is too labored. Slow down.
- Maintain good posture during your run.
- Make sure that you stay hydrated before, during and after a run.
Last But Not Least, Cool Down
Once you’ve completed your run, cool your body down. Do this by walking for about 10 minutes or more. You must cool down long enough to allow your heart rate to return to normal.
Running is an enormously rewarding practice. But, it can be dangerous if it’s not done properly (with stretching, warming up and cooling down). To learn more advanced and specific-to-you ways of preventing running-related injuries, consult with a physiotherapist.