You’ve had a stressful day, sitting down with a mountain of paperwork and you need an outlet. Grab those dusty sneakers and have a glass of cold water, it is time to run it off. Brisk walking, jogging and running are proven stress relievers, whether it’s needing time to process life’s chaos or allowing you to just enjoy some fresh air. Do it in silence or do it with some adrenalin tunes pumping in your ears.
This is freedom from the suit.
Now that we are enjoying the active natural antidepressant, antianxiety and stress relieving powers of running, let’s make sure that we don’t end it with an injury. ACC running-related injury claims are constantly rising, most of them preventable.
Whether you are building up to a race, participating for general fitness or wanting to keep up with the dog; make sure you are ready for the long haul. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your muscles aren’t ready for a marathon tomorrow.
If you want to be a weekend warrior, you will be another ACC statistic. If you want to be a runner…then be prepared to condition your body to keep it healthy and safe.
Here are some running hazards to avoid, and tips to implement to cut your risk of injury.
Make sure you are aware of what is happening around you. Traffic accidents involving runners are on the rise with distractions such as music, more cars on the road and winter’s dark and wet months. These make it harder to be aware of cars coming up behind you. When crossing the road, pop out your ear plugs; look and listen.
Make sure you can be clearly seen. Assume you are invisible and behave as such. Get some fluoro or a reflector belt if you are running in anything but a sunny summer day. If you are turning a corner, slow down for possible intersections or pedestrians.
Run in a group or with a friend. Running in pairs or a group allows you to be safe in a multitude of bad situations. It also allows for motivation, accountability and an extra incentive to push yourself further and faster.
Beware of overestimating your fitness and body. If you are building your fitness and endurance, don’t rookie it by going too far or too fast. Get a progressive programme, so you can condition and build your body’s capability, therefore not risking common injuries such as shin splints, ITB syndrome and runner’s knee.
Get the right shoes for your running! Whether you are a fad chaser or just starting out, shoes can make or break your running by altering alignment, muscle recruitment, joint loading, shock absorption and surface traction. Get some advice from someone who knows more than one brand and one running theory. Learn how your movement patterns and how different types of shoes are going to affect it. Just because a pair of shoes works for your friend doesn’t mean they are right for you.