Want to run but hate running? Don’t worry you’re not alone. I remember when I first started running and not being able to keep going beyond the first 1km. I thought why on earth do people do this?! But, as my fitness improved and my runs started to feel less effortful I started to enjoy running a whole lot more and for the last 15 years, I’d really say it has become a way of life for me. Things that helped me were creating an upbeat playlist, having several familiar routes and using landmarks along the way. For example ‘I’ll run for the next 5 lamp posts and then walk for the following 2’. What also helped was entering a few 5 km fun runs to have as targets to work towards (the goody bags and medals were also a great reward!)
Here are a few helpful tips;
- Vary your runs and running tempo. Structure your runs to include interval, tempo-based and long runs. This helps to vary tissue loading and allow for recovery. The team at Premier can help to guide you on how to structure your running training to best suit your personal goals and keep your body in good health.
- Vary your footwear. Just like cruising along the same route every run at the same speed can get your body complacent with a routine pattern of movement, running in the same model of shoe run after run, year after year utilises the same patterns of motor control day after day. Variety in surface, terrain and footwear helps to keep your body responsive to changes in the environment. A study in 2013 by Malisoux and colleagues found that using multiple shoes lowers running related injury. This is thought to be due to increased neuromuscular activity linking your foot to your brain – basically your brain receives more varied input about where your foot is and what it is doing and subsequently, becomes more responsive to changes in forces involved with foot-fall in running. Consider replacing footwear around 600km-1000km, less for lightweight racing shoes.
- Plan your training weekly , monthly and quarterly. What are your goals? Weight management? Improve fitness? Fun run? Marathon? Setting goals and planning your training accordingly can help to motivate your inner running spirit and reduce training errors.
- How well is your body hydrated and fuelled for your run? Would you expect a car to drive well on an empty tank? Running without fuel can put you at more risk of injury. With greater fatigue our muscular system is less efficient in protecting our joints and bones.
- Have a running assessment. Ever wondered why your foot turns out when you run? Finding your hip starts to niggle after running 7km? Often simple strategies to improve on strength and movement efficiency during running can make a significant impact on how you feel and how you are performing
- Strength training for runners is important. 3 strength training sessions in a 2 week period is a great compliment to a runners training schedule. But remember – rest days are important too!
- Compliment your running with Pilates. Pilates helps to create a stable centre around which we have more efficient movement of our arms and legs. Is also a great way to improve on body awareness and helps to strengthen the body in specific patterns of movements involved in running. As a seasoned runner I have had my fair share of injuries and Pilates has helped me return to, and rebalance my running after a stress fracture, hip injury and persistent ITB friction syndrome over the years.
- Get niggles assessed and treated quickly to prevent injury escalation. You’re not alone, up to 75% of runners get injured every year.
- Pelvic floor concerns? This is more common than you think, particularly in post-partum females, and in long distance runners due to the chronic low-load loading of the pelvic floor. In fact 1 in 3 women will experience a problem with their pelvic floor at some point in their life. Don’t let this stop you. The pelvic floor in both men and women is like any other muscle and can be strengthened and retrained. Book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists for guidance on pelvic floor rehabilitation. For further info use the following link to access great resources from The Continence Foundation of Australia: http://www.continence.org.au/pages/how-do-pelvic-floor-muscles-help.html
So get out there and enjoy the sunshine. Running is great for body and mind and it improves your strength and balance. It’s something you can do any time, any place and all it requires is a pair of running shoes.
See you out there on the track!
Zoe Denton Senior Physiotherapist
Premier Sports & Spinal Medicine