The word running brings delight to some, whilst others would prefer it to be removed from the dictionary. Whether you are someone who is planning to tackle a running event on the 2016/2017 calendar, or you would just like to maintain an adequate level of cardiovascular fitness, you need to ensure that you start your running appropriately to avoid pain or injury (0-10km in one week probably won’t cut it).
There is countless evidence showing that running improves cardiovascular function, muscle strength and bone density, as well as mood and cognition – are you convinced yet? The research also shows that as we age, runners have better health and function than non-runners.
Recent research has suggested that running for only one hour per week can cut your risk of heart disease by 50%!
For those of you with busy lifestyles who struggle to find time for exercise, running is your best option. It doesn’t require a gym membership and you can work it around your schedule. It has also been shown that running expends energy faster than universal gym equipment such as the exercise bike and cross trainer.
So where do I start?
Have a guess as to what the main reason for beginners to drop out of running might be? Injury. We can’t encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle via running if they are limited by pain or injury. Novice runners are more likely to get injured than seasoned runners, however the overall risk of sustaining a running related injury is less when compared to most competitive sports.
The key to avoiding injury – start slow. Your body will adapt to the new task and load if you give it the time it needs. Studies have shown that beginners who made greater increases in their weekly running load, sustained more injuries. There are several ways you might approach your training load, for example, an interval program where you gradually increase your running time and decrease your walk breaks. The ‘Couch to 5k’ running app is great for beginners looking for some guidance on how to approach their running. I have used it with novice runners and they have all found it very useful, motivational, and most importantly they have all remained injury free.
Running can be hard initially and, like any exercise, you will feel muscles you haven’t felt for a long time following a run, but it gets much easier so stick with it!
Each individual has different attributes and requirements so there isn’t a one size fits all approach to commencing running. If you are someone who is considering getting into running (or getting back into it after an extended period away), a thorough assessment of your strength, flexibility, and technique is recommended to devise an appropriate running plan tailored to you. Book in for a Running Assessment with one of our Physios, Ben or Blake, at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD to get into running safely and without injury.