With everyones New Year fitness regimes in full swing, the number of people out running is spiking. But it's easy for you to start to give in to those little niggling thoughts that will stop you from reaching your goals. If you haven't seen my blog on tips to keep yourself on track this New Year, then go and have a look!
It seems as though most new fitness regimes incorporate a sudden increase in running. Now I don't have a problem with this at all, but ensuring that you follow a plan and look after your body is important and will make you more successful with your new hobby. That said, it's also just as important to follow a plan and ensure you're not injuring yourself in any fitness regime or sport e.g. swimming, rugby, football, going to the gym etc.
With these tips, that can apply to most fitness enthusiasts regardless of how long you've been training, you should be able to keep going and reach your targets.
1. Give yourself time to improve
A lot of injuries come from going too hard, too fast. By giving yourself time to improve and your body time to adapt, you lower the risk of injuring yourself. The general rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by 10%, and that is something you should stick to. If you're new to running then it may be best to try and increase at a slightly lower rate to really give yourself time to improve. It may also be best to follow a plan such as Couch to 5k or a Beginner's plan from Virgin London Marathon.
2. Let your body recover
Scheduling in regular rest days will allow your body to heal from the exercise you are doing. Letting your body repair and replenish itself should make injuries less likely, and means that you can train to your maximum potential every time. That should lead to you accomplishing your targets and goals sooner.
3. Stretch, roll and mobilise
For every hour of training, 15 minutes extra should be spent stretching and foam rolling. This should help in reduce muscle soreness associated with training, improve flexibility and again reduce the risk of injury that can hinder your progress. This is the same for all types of exercise, not just for running. Making sure you target all major muscle groups, with particular focus on muscles that are feeling more uncomfortable or tight.
4. Get the right equipment
This doesn't mean buy the most fancy and expensive stuff. Just make sure the equipment is right for you and is suitable for the job. For example, a general rule for runners is that your trainers should be replaced after every 1000 miles. It is sometimes best to go to a running shop that offers a biomechanical assessment of your gait to provide a trainer that will help you the most (although this isn't always cheap).
5. Listen to your body
You know when you're in pain, and you know when it's a good idea to ease off a little. But a lot of the time we push through this, leading to more harm than good. If you're feeling this then maybe schedule in an extra rest day to let yourself recover further. It may also be a good idea to see a professional who can help, such as an Osteopath, who will be able to identify any causes and contributors to your symptoms. With this information they can offer treatment and advice on how to manage your problem, and get you back into training as soon as possible. Just remember that the longer you leave, the longer it could take to sort out.