New year’s resolutions are a fun and novel way of creating a fresh start. Often there is renewed enthusiasm following the festive season and with the new year brings new beginnings and opportunity for change.
One such change is to ‘get fit’, a resolution that we all have at some stage of our lives. Often this means starting a 30-day challenge, or run your local park daily, or even build towards a half or full marathon. All very good ideas and a great way to form the basis of your change to a fitter you.
More often than not the new year’s resolution fails to make it through January, and frequently this is due to injury. We are somewhat boom bust with our approach, especially if the activity is new to you. Here are some top tips to avoiding running injury this coming new year.
- Find a nice park to run in. Running in a park is more stimulating than running on the streets and will keep you interested longer, while the ground will be softer and more forgiving to your joints.
- Run gentle intervals on your first go. This may be running 1km then walking 50 metres, or run 50 metres and walk 10 metres. Know your limits and start slow, you can always add more later.
- Run about 3-5km max your first couple of times, your muscles will thank you for it later.
- Run in shoes appropriate for running. This is not rocket science but a nice pair of runners are both extremely comfortable and light, but also motivating to slip in to.
- Set a goal and plan. Some days you will lack motivation and it will be harder to put the shoes on. These are often the most satisfying runs to get through.
- Don’t run every day. Bear with me, running every day will cause lactate build up, fatigue and wear and tear if you are not conditioned to it. Have every second day off and reduce your risk of a running injury.
- Don’t run more than 5km in your first go. You will likely tighten up somewhere and trying to run through it you will be more likely to develop an injury.
- Don’t run hills over and over and over in the first few weeks, mix it up but try and keep it on the flat. Tendons love building into things and having the chance to adapt to new exercises.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to be gradual. Build into things. Hitting the ground running and giving it 100% is great in theory, but patience is so important when you are new to running to avoid injury.
Secondly being a well-balanced runner and being strong enough not only in your legs but in your core and hips is the key to avoiding the compensatory movements that cause various injuries runners are prone to.
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