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Thinking about signing up for a big run? Don’t fall into one of these common traps…
No game plan
Running may sound like the type of exercise that you just get out and simply do, but if you intend to turn your rookie runner status into I’m a runner you should get your technique right from the get go.
Have you ever looked down at your feet to determine how your foot strikes the pavement? This may sound counterintuitive, but there’s actually a few different steps one can take, such as a forefoot, midfoot or heel strike. The way you strike can actually affect other muscles, therefore knowing what strike to take may improve your longevity.
For example, for those who lead with their forefoot, the plantar fascia, Achilles and calf muscles can take on more of a load, however this may be better for people with ITB or glute/hip issues.
If you strike with your heel, the glutes and quads take on more of the physical load, therefore those with calf or ankle issues may want to avoid.
For midfooters, you sit in the middle of the two which may be a good transition from one to the other or to balance the load better.
Get in get out
There’s a pre and post-game to running that often gets dismissed: stretching! Without stretching you can expect a running hangover that may last longer than a day. Stretching before helps prepare your muscles and releases tension after, reason being so your muscles aren’t shocked by the zero to hero and left sore afterwards.
The main thing to remember is to perform dynamic stretches, i.e. leg swings and squats before a run, and static stretches after your run i.e. forward bends. Dynamic stretching helps prepare your muscles for momentum and begins to extend the range of motion, be careful not to overextend but just warm up.
Stick to the treadmill
If you stick to the gym treadmill you may find yourself increasingly bored and less inspired to get out and run. Switching up your environment helps keep running interesting and also accountable, you’re less likely to stop as soon as the screen says you’ve burnt X calories or the TV program above you is no longer interesting.
Find different parks, suburbs, walking tracks or even beaches. If you’re training for a fun-run you’ll find that your terrain changes so getting used to different environments helps develop your stamina and mental strength to keep going.
Run and run only
Running relies on other areas of our body to maintain our technique and longevity, therefore it’s important to strengthen other areas to prevent against injury or poor stamina. Exercise that activate the glutes, quads and core supports optimal posture and ultimately help you get across the finishing line. On rest days, go for a gentle walk or swim and practice exercises that strengthen the listed areas.
Ben Lucas is the Director of Flow Athletic and a qualified personal trainer.