Keeping on the right track

By Dr Ui May Tan, Thursday, 26th February 2015 | 0 comments

Some helpful hints to keep you injury free when training - Dr Ui May Tan 

You’ve registered for the 2015 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, your Doctor is happy with your proposed new exercise regime and you have downloaded the app – you’re ready to go!  But there are some golden rules of running to keep you on the right track and injury free. 

The first rule is: Remember that you have to walk before you run!  We’ve all been guilty of throwing ourselves into a new exercise regime whole-heartedly only to over-do it and pick up an injury in no time.   While it is very tempting to just go out and run as fast as you can for as long as you can, you will ultimately run longer, feel stronger, and stay injury free if you start by adding short runs to your regular walks, and then gradually increase the amount of time you spend running.

Vhi’s Fitness Expert Louise Heraghty’s training programme contains specific weekly advice on how to build running into your walks.   Your main goal is to get fit without getting injured and going too far and too fast before your body is ready is one of the most common causes of injuries.  

You should gradually increase your running time so that eventually you will be running for twice the amount of time that you spend walking.  If you feel like walking at a brisk or more comfortable pace then that’s ok too.   Louise’s plans focus on how best to get you to the starting line on June 1st, no matter what your fitness level is, so follow the weekly guide – it’s been developed to help you get fit steadily.

So when should you stop and when do you need to keep going?

It’s very normal to feel some low-level aches and pains when you first start a walking or running programme but it is really important that you listen to your body and don’t ignore pain that continues.  Persistent pain or pains that worsen while you walk, jog or run are signals to rest for at least a week.  If the pain persists and doesn’t seem to be improving it would be worth consulting with a professional such as a GP or a chartered physiotherapist to get to the bottom of the problem. 

Rule number 2: Run efficiently.  Find a running stance that suits you. Every runner, walker or jogger has a different style that works for them and there are lots of advice pieces on good posture – find the one that works for you and remember to listen to your body, if you are suffering from niggles or aches then something isn’t working correctly so talk to a professional for advice.

The end? One final piece of advice for joggers or runners  - consider incorporating a 20 minute walk after you run a longer distance or participate in a run.  When you run, blood gets re-directed to your legs, away from your internal organs.  A gentle walk afterwards is a great way to return your body to its normal levels.