Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Injury? Heaven Forbid!

I was surprised to read that most beginners get injured during the first 6 months of running. And guess what the two most common culprits for these minor injuries?

First is trying to do too much and second is wearing the wrong kind of shoes.

I can just totally relate to the first reason. When you finally decide to take up running, you get so fired up and want to do it everyday, hoping that you can make up for the lost time. Sometimes, you also want to increase your mileage immediately to have that sense of accomplishment. I have to caution you.... do not get tempted to fall into these temptations. Because if you do, you may suffer an injury that will make you unfit to run for months! That will definitely suck!

Here's how to avoid injury when you begin and I lift it right up the page of "Running for Fitness":

1) If you are new to running, walk for the first month;
2) Build up slowly; never increase your mileage by more than two miles or 10 percent, whichever is greater;
3) Get proper running shoes from a specialist running shop;
4) Run on grass or trails rather than roads and pavements if possible;
5) Get advice from experienced runners;
6) Ignore the feeling in your first three months that you could be doing more;
7) See a physiotherapist to get advice on how you might improve your running style
Another practical approach to knowing if you're running too fast is the TALK TEST. I was amazed that there is such a thing as a talk test... How does this work? Well, if you cannot talk in complete sentences during your training runs, you are running too fast.

I have trouble doing this test because I do not want to talk to anybody when I run. I get autistic and I am in a world of my own... there is such great freedom in having your own space, your own time and your own world during that 30-60 minutes work out.

Anyway, why all these advice to be very patient and to pace yourself properly? It's because your body needs to adapt to the regular impact of the ground against your feet. It will not take overnight for your ligaments to strengthen and your muscles to develop.
Below is a sample training program for a complete beginner which you may want to adapt if you are totally new to running. What I used was the training program from Podrunner. My husband chose the podrunner interval because it gives you a program of walking and running intervals just like the one shown below but the 10 week to 5-km program from podrunner seems shorter compared to that of the table. What I do is to closely "listen" to my body and assess how it responds to the training program so I know that I am not pushing myself too much. Just thinking of the months of rest due to injury keeps me very patient and gives me the temperance I need in order to avoid such an unfortunate incident.