People love running for its simplicity. Running doesn’t require a rule book. Everybody knows how to do it so you can just get out and go! But, like any other sporting activity, running does require some basic principles to be maximize both it’s effectiveness and longtime enjoyment.
We’ve done a little research to help us all along in becoming better runners and enjoying even more than we already do:
- To get started, this probably goes without saying but of course that means that I’m going to say it anyway and now am just wasting time; it’s necessary that you wear the right type of running shoes. The shoes will form the base for your comfort level while you run and help to avoid injury. Make note that your running shoes should be replaced after every 300 to 400 miles. There is a whole huge debate about what makes the best running shoe but that is such an individualistic subject you will have to take that up at your local running club shoe store.
- You have to warm up the body before a good run. Get your muscles humming a little and contrary to what to you think (I used to think “that means I’ll be too tired to complete the run”) you will feel better and run longer. You can start with a brisk walk or a slow jog for few minutes.
- Do a cool down too. Don’t be like I used to be and just jump directly into my car right after the run without cooling down. It could lead to accidents when your muscles cramp and you can’t let off the accelerator. While ending up your running, you will have to gradually bring down the heart rate and the blood pressure by a slow 5 – minute jogging or walking.
- Eat a healthy diet. I used to wonder how I could be lapped by guys (and gals) with a gut out in front of them. I’d see the same people running lap after lap and they were obviously in great cardiovascular shape but their physique looked like they were 2nd in line for a coronary. The thing is, despite their work ethic at the park and on the track, they ate terribly. Don’t throw all your hard work away and also put your long term health at risk too. Take in a high protein breakfast and a light lunch. You must run on empty stomach, i.e., two or three hours after the last meal that you have taken.
- It is good to intake plenty of fluids. When I say fluids, it’s not the type that give you a buzz. We are talking H2O (or smart water). This has to be taken 15 minutes before running.
- It’s always good to set a goal.Without a goal, it’s almost impossible to push yourself, to stay motivated at all which in the end means you won’t get much out of running if you don’t have a goal.
- If you’re in a hot climate avoid running during the hottest time of the day
- It is good to take sports drink that contains electrolytes before and after a long run. Long run means running more than 5 miles. Those help you in easy recovery period after running.
- It is good to run with someone, who has same level of ability as you have. It can be highly motivational for your running.
- Add some interest to your running – don’t run in the same route. Not because someone maybe following you (which would be great motivation), but because it would be boring. You can vary the distance and the routes to keep your mind occupied.
When you start running vigorously and with a goal oriented mindset, there is a chance of injury. Studies estimate that nearly 80 percent of the runners get injured each year. These injuries are the result of the repeated force of running over a long period of time.
- Blisters – this is one of the most common injuries that runners face. The heels and toes of the feet are the most commonly affected with blisters. Blisters are the result of the continuous friction which produces a shearing force inside the layers of skin. In between the separated layers, blood or serous fluid filles in: the results is blisters. After you get a blister your running posture naturally changes to compensate many times leading to additional injuries.
- How to prevent blisters – use shoes that fit your feet properly and use socks that wick away moisture.
- Runner’s Knee –this knee pain is characterized by severe pain in the lateral (outside) knee area. Many times the knee pain will radiate forward to the upper parts of thigh. Runner’s knee pain usually lasts only while you are running and disappears while at rest. In some extreme cases the pain will occur even going up or down stairs.
Usually the knee pain will usually recur in a predictable time or distance.
- The initial treatment is to ice with ice packs after using some anti-inflammatories.
- Shin Splints – this is very common for the new runners. This is caused due to the following of improper running techniques, excess body weight or even over training. If you are going to continue running, leaving the cause of the shin splints unaddressed, it can lead to a stress fracture.
- To minimize the likihood of shin splints sidelining you; you should use quality running shoes that have shock absorbing insoles and make sure you are using proper running technique.
- The initial treatment is rest and strengthening exercises for the anterior lower leg muscles. You can take up running slowly once you feel the pain has subsided.
- Plantar fasciitis.Usually the pain is most pronounced in the heel area and the bottom of the middle part of the foot. You can feel this pain in the early morning, when you take the first few steps of the day.
- Shoes that have adequate support for the foot and arch will minimize the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis.
Who should consult a doctor prior to starting a rigorous running regimen:
- You had been sedentary or inactive for years
- You have not taken up any exercises ever and you are over age 65
- If you have any heart troubles
- If you are pregnant
- If you are excessive in weight
- If you have chest pains
- Your family history has heart disease
When should you see a doctor for your running ailments:
Even after 7 – 10 days, you cannot find improvement in your running injury recovery and have the following symptoms and then no doubt you need to see a doctor for running injury:
- Severe Pain in the joints or in the bone
- The injured area is really paining to even mild touch
- If you find any swelling in the injury spot
- If you feel that the pain is radiating to the other area of the body
- Weakness or numbness in the injured site