Develop And Maintain Good Running Habits
Running has become an extremely popular form of exercise, with more than 64 million people going running in 2016. Running is an excellent way to get both cardio and fat burning exercise, both because it’s relatively simple, but also relatively inexpensive. For the price of a mid-level pair of running shoes (and some comfy socks and running clothes), a runner can get a full year’s worth of exercise for about the price of a gym membership.
Whether you’re new the sport or an old pro, running can be hard on the body, particularly the feet, legs, knees, and back. That’s why it’s essential to develop and maintain good running habits that will ultimately keep you healthy. After all, a simple injury can keep you off the road or running trail for months, wiping away any progress you may have made.
Let’s take a look at a few running essentials to ensure you stay healthy and on your feet.
Set Goals, And Expectations
The first step to develop healthy running habits isn’t to run, but to set goals for yourself. This can both be distance goals as well as time goals, and the key is to have both long and short-term goals. It’s important to be realistic here, both in terms of what you can accomplish and the amount of time you need to accomplish it. For example, if you’ve never run before, it’s unrealistic to think you can work up to a full marathon in just a couple of weeks. However, setting a goal of, say, running a 5k in a couple of months is totally reasonable. Just remember that improving your performance is about achieving small, incremental improvements.
Don’t Stretch. Warm-Up.
It’s a common misconception that runners need to stretch before starting their run. This is actually incorrect. Stretching can actually stress your muscles and ligaments, decreasing your performance. Instead, warming up is the key to building endurance and speed, while avoiding injury. Warming up raises your body temperature and heart rate, and increases blood flow, which will help you avoid cramping up. A good warm-up routine should include a short, but brisk walk, as well as a handful of calisthenic exercises, including lunges, squats, lateral shuffles, leg swings, among others.
Don’t Forget Recovery
One thing many novice runners overlook is the recovery period after a run. This is a crucial time for your body to return to its normal state, but if you don’t practice good recovery techniques you could be setting yourself up for a serious injury. This should include ensuring you properly hydrate after a run, having a light post-run snack such as yogurt, a banana, or peanut butter on whole-wheat toast. It’s also a good idea to stretch after your run, and if your legs are sore consider applying ice packs before you rest.
We can help. Schedule an appointment with one of our sports specialists and we can develop a personalized running program that helps you achieve your fitness goals.
Please call Pain and Spine Specialists in Maryland at 301.703.8767, or 724-603-3560 in Pennsylvania to schedule a consultation or use the contact form on our website to send us a message.