It’s important to train properly for your run otherwise you will be at risk of injury. Here are some tips that will help ensure you enjoy your training and event day safely.
1. Before you start any training programme, make sure you’re healthy enough to run. Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term health condition that may affect your ability to exercise, such as:
- heart disease
If you start your training programme and find that you feel unwell, see your doctor, especially if you:
- have heart palpitations
- feel lighted-headed, dizzy or faint
- have chest pain or tightness
- get excessively short of breath
- get excessive wheezing or coughing
- have severe joint or muscle pain
2. Start your training slowly and build up gradually, especially if you haven’t exercised for some time. Allowing yourself recovery time is also important when training. This is when your body gets stronger and fitter. If you don’t allow time for your body to recover, you may weaken your performance and feel tired. Muscle aches and pains happen most commonly after an increase in training, and stress on your lower limbs can cause injuries.
3. Give yourself time to warm up and cool down before and after your run. Warming up allows time for your body to prepare mentally and physically for the exercise you’re about to do. A good warm up should include activity that slightly raises your heart rate followed by stretching. This increases the blood flow to your muscles, improves flexibility and prepares your muscles. Cooling down after your run helps to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
4. To reduce your risk of injury, vary your routes, running surface, pace and distance. Ideally, swap between two pairs of shoes on alternate training days.
5. Face oncoming traffic and stay visible, especially when it’s dark – for example, wear bright or reflective clothing.