If you’re like one of the millions of Americans who have resolved to get more exercise in the new year, you may be thinking about running more. If you’re not that familiar with developing a running routine, that’s fine, but there are some things you should know so you don’t end up hurting your feet or legs. Below, we share some tips for avoiding injuries when beginning a running routine.
Safely Starting A Running Routine
Here are a number of tips to help you stay injury-free while starting your running routine.
1. Shoe Assistance – If you’re investing in a new pair of running shoes, make sure you are professionally fitted. Find a shoe that is comfortable, but also one that contours to your foot’s arch. Make sure it provides support in all the right places, and if you don’t know how to do this, have a professional help fit you to the right type of shoe in the store.
2. Running Gear – If you’re beginning your routine now in the winter, you have to take some extra precautions when it comes to your attire. Check out this related post on how to safely run in the winter, because you’re going to want to dress warm enough to protect yourself from the cold but light enough so you’re not sweating.
3. Start Slow – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you shouldn’t expect to be able to run five miles if you haven’t run a program in a while. Even if you can run that far, it doesn’t mean you should, because you may end up overworking muscle groups that aren’t quite ready for that level of activity. Limit your distance to start.
4. Increase Slowly – Similarly, make sure you’re slow to increase your distance or duration. Add an extra minute or quarter mile to a run you’ve done a couple of times, and slowly continue to build that distance. Again, it’s all about avoiding overstressing and shocking your system, so be gradual when increasing your distance.
5. Listen To Your Body – If something doesn’t feel right, call it quits for the day, don’t try to push through the pain. Minor injuries can snowball into major pain if you’re stubborn about taking time off. You’ll begin to develop a sense for what discomfort and injury can feel like. You can push through discomfort, but if pain or injuries arise, shut it down.
6. Stretch – Before and after your run is complete, take five minutes to stretch. Pay specific attention to your lower body, but don’t forget to stretch your shoulders and core muscles, as these also will be tested during your run. Stretching after a run is just as important, so don’t skip a stretching session.
7. Talk To a Doctor – Finally, if you’re having any foot or ankle issues, or you want some input on your running form or your shoe selection, talk to a foot specialist. We can look at your gait and foot shape and make some suggestions if pain is limiting your running ability. Dr. Silverman has helped many runners in the past, and he can do the same for you!