When I started my running journey 4 years ago, I didn’t think much about sustaining injuries – after all, I’m young and it’s just simple running, right…? Wrong. I soon learnt that even running short distances can injure a person if it isn’t done properly. Here are some lessons I’ve learnt based on my experiences!
1. Always do a proper warm-up and cool down.
It’s important to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up before the run so that they don’t get a shock when you first start running, which may cause undue stress on both your muscles and heart. Also, after your run, you should properly stretch your muscles to ensure that the lactic acid doesn’t build up in your muscles. It also helps to gradually lower your heart rate after a workout.
This is the warm-up I usually do before a run! It’s simple and warms up the legs slightly.
My cool-down stretches will cover most of the muscle groups involved in running:
– calf stretches (lunge position against a wall)
– ITB stretches (Cross your legs while standing and bend your body down towards the opposite side from the direction you crossed. Eg, if you cross your right leg over your left, then you bend towards your left)
– thigh stretches (lift one leg up towards your butt and use your hand to hold it there)
– glute stretches (in a sitting position, open your legs to stretch your inner thigh. Then, cross one ankle onto the other thigh, and bend your torso downwards. Repeat for the other leg.)
2. Watch your posture when running
When I run in the parks or park connectors, I see a lot of people having different running postures that will result in injury in the long run, pun intended. Watch YouTube videos to see the correct posture you should adopt – hands should be loosely held at 90 degrees, near your body. Torso should be kept straight, yet not stiff. It helps if your core is strong enough to maintain your posture. For your legs, landing on your midfoot is the best and most efficient running posture to prevent impact on your knees. Try to keep your feet pointed forward rather than outwards/inwards (I’ve been seeing a lot of this!) If you’re unable to sustain a good running posture, you should consider doing some exercises for core strength, calf raises, squats and lunges.
For strength training exercises, I recommend blogilates and global triathlon network. They have very good exercises to strengthen various muscle groups!
3. Wear a good pair of shoes suitable for your feet
It is extremely important to wear a pair of good shoes! Not all expensive shoes are good for everyone. You need to try and see which type of shoes are suitable for you. For example, I have really bad bunions and wide feet. Because of that, I need shoes that have a wide top, as well as good support so as not to strain the ligaments in my feet since they are already strained due to my bunion. I tried a pair of shoes that had better cushioning (hence, softer) but it ended up giving me a lot of pain in my foot and toes. I ended up reverting back to Asics, which I feel gives me the best support and gel cushioning, even though they are heavier.
Just 3 simple ways to get you started on being injury-free while you run! Hope this helps (:
Note: any reference to any brand/youtuber is based on my personal experience and I did not receive any form of reward in any way.