As the weather warms up, runners of all skill levels are getting ready to lace up and hit the pavement for another season. Running is an incredible exercise—not only is it fantastic for your cardiovascular health, but it provides us with a blast of fresh air, a little vitamin D, and some powerful feel-good endorphins. But, like any form of physical training, it’s important to ensure we are taking care of our bodies when training.
To help you prepare for the upcoming season, Align massage therapist Catherine Dawe, an accomplished runner herself, is sharing some of her favourite tips to help you make the most of your training this year:
Always stretch before and after you run.
Most of us know the importance of stretching after any form of exercise, but it’s equally as important to warm up the muscles before you hit the ground running to protect yourself from injury. Before any run you want to do a range of active and dynamic stretches—such as hip rotations, or high knees—in order to warm up. After your run you can do more static stretches, which involve holding the stretch for a longer period of time. You don’t want to do any type of static stretch before running, because your muscles won’t be warm enough—this can cause more harm than good!
Just beginning your running career, or trying to reach new distances? Don’t get discouraged!
Don’t discourage yourself by comparing youself to other people. “I did that a lot when I first started out, I’d always see people who made it look so easy. But it does take a lot of hard work—you won’t be able to get those long distances right away,” Catherine explains. If you are just getting into running, don’t be scared to take walking breaks when needed. Even avid marathon runners sometimes need to slow down in order to finish the race!
Join a running group.
Even if you are an avid runner, there is always more to learn! Catherine has had a lot of success finding new training methods by attending running groups such as The Running Room, or Running Free. Plus, you’re guaranteed to find lots of comradery with other runners, which can be a big bonus when you aren’t feeling motivated to lace up.
Listen to your body.
Don’t train through pain! Pain is an indication that something is wrong. If you are being dilligent with your stretches and still experiencing pain while running, listen to your body and take a few rest days. Many runners, Catherine included, experience iliotibial band (IT band) pain. These muscles, which run along your outer thigh and connect to your knee, can become aggrevated with repetitive motion, causing pain that registers outside of the knee. If you are experiencing knee pain, our physio and massage therapists can help you come up with a treatment plan!
Want to make sure your body is healthy and ready for the running season? Book an appointment with our team today: https://alignyourhealth.ca/book-appointment/