Running is good, it’s obvious, both physically and mentally. But badly practiced, this sport can be harmful. Here are 8 tips to make you happy without ever hurting yourself.
Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, stress fracture… These are words that all runners dread to see enter their vocabulary. Because it can be long and very painful to get rid of an injury. That is why it is best to prevent. That is how.
Start running with the hope of running a marathon four months later? It’s too ambitious! “For beginners, some programs offer to run for one minute, then walk for one minute and repeat this cycle three times,” explains Dr. Geoffrey Wandji, a sports doctor in Villeneuve-d’Ascq. It may not sound like much, but it’s still the best way to avoid injury. Therefore, it will be necessary to increase the dose gradually. If you want to run longer, go for it, but don’t go beyond 10% more each week. Likewise, we don’t go from 1 to 4 training sessions per week at a time. Patience is the main quality of runners who never get injured.
know how to listen
“Listening to your body’s signals is essential,” Dr. Wandji insists. And the first, of course, is pain. As much as possible, when in pain, avoid running. And we resume slowly once the pain goes away. Ignoring a sore and ostrich risks lead to its aggravation. So that you don’t stay on the couch, this is the perfect time to try cross-training: practice another sport (biking, swimming, etc.) that doesn’t deform the painful area. In case of severe pain, it is not necessary to cancel your outing, but be sure to go a little slower than you had planned. On the other hand, if you feel exhausted, you will not stubbornly want to do your session at all costs. Better to rest, to return in top form the next day.
Don’t skip the warm up
This gradual buildup is key to avoiding injury. The idea is very simple: start very slowly, for at least 10-15 minutes, until the body is warm, before increasing the speed. During the sessions themselves, we try to vary the terrain. Asphalt, ok, but we add, as soon as we can, running through the woods, through a park… As soon as the session is over, we do a few minutes of stretching.
Run fast, yes, but not always
Interval sessions, which consist of running faster than our “cruising” speed, are excellent for progress. But they also tire the body, much more than basic endurance sessions (a “comfortable” speed, which one could maintain for a long time), and put it at risk of injury. Therefore, it should not be abused. And after every interval session, unless you’re a very experienced runner, you should have a rest day before you go running.
thinking about recovery
In order to avoid injuries, what happens outside of the race sessions is almost more important than the race itself. The body must have time to recover between two sessions. And that goes for a restful sleep. The secret to regain control of your nights is to bet on regularity. Ideally, you should get up at the same time every day, Saturdays and Sundays included.
Drink lots of water and eat healthy
“Hydration is the key! “We can never repeat it enough, you should drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day, more on training or hot days. Since our bodies are 65% water, dehydration leads to fatigue. A healthy and balanced diet is also essential. When we choose our diet well, our cells have in this case all the nutrients they need to generate energy in our body. Therefore, we eat five fruits and vegetables a day, to fill us with vitamins and minerals. We prefer minimally processed foods, foods rich in starch, oilseeds, fish and shellfish…
thinking about your shoes
Shoes that are too worn or ill-fitting can cause injuries. It is obvious, but you have to feel good with them, that they are comfortable. “You should change a pair of running shoes every 800 to 1,000 kilometers,” recalls Dr. Wandji. And if you choose them a bit at random, or just for aesthetic criteria, a passage in a specialized store is essential. You will find out if your feet are pronator, supinator or universal, which will help you choose a suitable pair of shoes. When you get a new pair, wear it alternately for a few weeks with your old pair. As for the minimalist models, which are supposed to give the impression of running barefoot, they have not been shown to cause fewer injuries. If you decide to take the leap, you shouldn’t do it overnight.
Plantar fasciitis, the number one complaint of runners: This is an inflammation of the fascia, a fibrous band that connects the heel to the toes. This injury often follows when the intensity of training is suddenly increased. We have pain under the foot, especially in the minutes after the alarm clock, sometimes all day. Daily self-massage of the feet, with the fingers or with a tennis ball, the application of an ice pack, relieves pain. To say goodbye to a plantar aponeurosis you have to be patient: count between three and six months on average, sometimes much more.
lose a few pounds
Being overweight or obese increases the stress on muscles, tendons and joints and naturally the risk of injury. Like osteoarthritis, or tendinitis. But running is also a great way to shed extra pounds. It is not, therefore, about depriving yourself of it. You just have to make sure that you increase the dose very gradually, so that your body gets used to these new limitations.
read also 8 exercises to burn abdominal fat without running!