The countdown to one of the biggest running events in the Moreton Bay region has started! The weather is cooler and the sun is shining so put your sneakers on and go for a jog or fast-paced walk along the easily accessed pathways that line the foreshores that surround the Redcliffe Peninsula. We really can’t complain about the view!
Start by getting comfortable clothes, some motivating music and a plan to reach new goals. While it’s tempting to just go out and run as fast as you can for as long as you can, you’ll ultimately run longer, feel stronger, and stay injury free if you start by adding short bouts of running to your regular walks. Gradually increase the amount of time that you spend running. Your main goal is to get fit without getting hurt. Going too far and too fast before your body is ready is one of the most common causes of injuries like shin splints, I.T. band syndrome and runner’s knee which often sideline many keen runners. You can stay injury-free by gradually building up the time you spend walking and running, increasing the time by about 10 percent from week to week.
Before your workout, your time is better spent warming up with dynamic stretching. These moves, which include butt kicks and walking with high knees, improve range of motion and loosen up muscles that you’re going to use on the road. They also increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow so you feel warmed up sooner and run more efficiently. After your run, if you have an area that still feels tight such as the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, I.T. bands and quads tend to be tight after running, a little stretching may be in order.
Some muscle aches and soreness, especially in the quadriceps and calves are to be expected any time you are pushing your body farther or faster than it’s accustomed to going. But there are some pains that you shouldn’t ignore. Any sharp pains or pains that persist or worsen as you walk, run or go about your daily activities are signals to rest.
You don’t need lots of fancy equipment to start running however a new pair of shoes are a non-negotiable item. Worn-out shoes are a leading cause of injury and often wear and tear aren’t obvious to the naked eye. Don’t shop by fashion or price; the money you spend will pay off in the form of hundreds of pain-free comfortable kilometres.
After a few weeks you’ll begin to believe that the whole idea of an ‘exercise high’ is not a myth. I do know however that it can be hard to get out the door at first. Relying on willpower alone just won’t work so make a plan. Listen to your favourite motivating music and pick the most convenient time to work out. Reward yourself! Write out a plan and place it where you can see it such as the bathroom mirror or fridge. If the best time to run is the morning, make sure you’ve got an energising music mix to listen to and a relaxing hot shower to look forward to after you’re done.
You don’t have to worry too much about form at this point however there are a few adjustments that can make the running feel more comfortable. Take short strides. Keep your elbows flexed at about 90 degrees, and keep your hands relaxed as if you were holding a piece of paper between your thumb and pointer finger. Envision yourself walking tall, looking straight ahead at the horizon and avoid looking down at your feet.
Restoring fluids is the first priority post-run. Drink water or a sports drink electrolyte. Next, focus on your nutrition. Within 30 to 45 minutes of your cool down you should consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. You may not always have the time or energy to prepare a meal after a run. Nutrition bars, such as Power Bars, are convenient generally healthy options. Look for bars that have the 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Other examples of quick nutrient replacement would be a bagel with peanut butter, a protein shake, a banana and yogurt, or a fruit and yogurt smoothie.
So let’s start by setting realistic goals, believing in ourselves and getting amongst it!
The Jetty to Jetty this year will be held on 16th July. Come along and register as part of the Dolphins Health Precinct team and run with me and your fellow members. Please register at our customer service desk for early bird rate.
Lisa Maclean – Personal Trainer
Dolphins Health Precinct