Pound the Pavement Safely with these Running Tips
Updated: Jan 19
Senior Physiotherapist Alex Diamond offers some expert advice for runners.
During the pandemic, many of us have turned to pounding the pavement to expend some energy, relieve some stress and get out of the house. Sometimes when we start running again or greatly increase our output, our bodies may struggle to adapt to this sudden change of load. However, there is enormous physical and mental benefits associated with running so here at Ultra Sports Clinic, we endeavour to keep you healthy and moving. So, whether you’re running for pleasure or starting training for your first triathlon or marathon, these tips will help you successfully build up your running capacity whilst looking after your body!
Essentially, when we run, we are absorbing approximately 2.5 to 3 times our body weight with every step! Our body is built to adapt to these forces but needs to be gradually exposed to them over a period of time. Training error or over exposure to training is the most common cause of injury – much more so than old beliefs such as ‘not stretching enough’, flat feet or the wrong footwear. Therefore, if you are starting to run or wanting to increase your distance or speed, we recommend only running around 2-3 times per week ensuring that you have adequate time for the body to recover in between sessions. Also, calculate your total distance covered for the week and aim to slowly increase this each week. An easy marker could be around 10% increase each week. This may differ from person to person, so it is useful to discuss with a health professional.
Another way to build up our capacity to handle the rigours of running is to strengthen the lower limbs. By increasing our muscle strength, we increase our ability to absorb load. Simple compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts or bridges are a good way to get multiple muscle groups firing. Calf raises are another easy exercise to begin with, as our calves are crucial in our running gait cycle. A nice progression is to trial these as single leg exercises.
Getting into running and staying fit and healthy doesn’t have to be too complex. By monitoring your distance & doing some complementary strength training, you are already on the right track. Having an initial consultation with a health professional, such as a physiotherapist or biokineticist, can help outline some achievable goals and provide further advice. We can tailor a strength and conditioning programme to get you started through one of our Biokinetic packages.
Call us on 0203 893 5100 or book an appointment online.
Alex is a Senior Physiotherapist at our King William St Clinic.