Advice for new and reminders for the experienced runner:

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So you want to run: advice for new and some reminders for the experienced runner!

Running is an amazing way to get in shape but it’s important to create a program that works well for you and your body.  The worst feeling is getting on track with a running program and then realizing that you may be developing an injury!  So here are some tips to avoid developing running injuries by appropriately adapting your body.

Some DOs and DO NOTS of a Warm-up

Do

  • warm-up (and cool-down) with a 5 minute walk
  • gradually increase your body temperature by a 15-20 minute progressive jog
  • complete functional ballistic stretches that incorporate running movement patterns (ex. If you’re unsure what that may be, look up runners “ABCs” running drill which is a great example of this!)

DO NOT

  • start a workout “cold”
  • complete prolonged static stretching or non-functional ballistic stretches 15 min prior to a run
  • progress too quickly in speed during your run

Volume: What is an appropriate training volume?

  • Run a minimum of 4x/week and maximum of 6x/wk to reduce the risk of injury
  • Do not increase your training volume by more than 10%/week
  • Weekly long run: 5-15 minutes increase/ week
  • Break down your workouts into intervals with a 1 minute walk between runs as needed
  • For your big volume weeks add a cross-training activity (ex. Biking, aqua-jogging), which is mechanically less stressful Intensity.

How hard should I be running?

  • 70-85% maximum Heart Rate (HR) (max HR = 220 – age (age how old you are, not how old you feel… sorry)
  • Increase 3% (of total volume) more/ week Surfaces

What are the optimal surfaces to train on?

  • Choose a cross-country/ trail running surface (irregular and firm surface)

Why train on irregular surfaces,  I love running on a track?

  • Great to hear you are a fan of the track but unfortunately, so are repetitive strain injuries. Running on varied surfaces reduces mechanical stress during this high cadence exercise  or in other words, if you run on a road or track only and you have a specific “flaw” or biomechanical problem in your running form you will be repeating that movement pattern with every step you take increasing your risk of injury.  When the ground is firm but irregular (ex. Trail running) your foot placement, stride, and in turn running form is constantly adjusting, changing mechanical stress of your body.  As a result, training on irregular surfaces also makes it easier to increase your training volume.

Hills: So what about hill training?

  • It’s a great way to increase the intensity of your runs but make sure you are being progressive.
  • Calculate the distance and the number of hills that you run and incrementally increase.

Footwear: I just bought new running shoes, how should I start training in them?

  • Walk at home for 2 days to break them in and ensure they are comfortable
  • Short jogs (First week)
  • Intervals (Second week)
  • Longer jogs (Third week)
  • Weekly long run (Fourth week)

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If you are unsure of what type of footwear would work best from you come in to speak with our occupational therapist, Lisa Huskins, for a complimentary gait assessment. For any other questions about running or running injuries don’t hesitate to contact myself or anyone of our Edge Experts.

Happy Running, Kerra Quinn PT, BSc, MScPTPhysical Therapist

FYI this information is adapted from the teachings of Blaise Dubois in his evidence-based course – Prevention of Running Injuries.