We’ve all done it before… deciding that we had enough of lazing around an endless amount of evenings, after someone or something inspired us to lift our butts off the couch and start with a running plan. Once this inspiration strikes, we want to run like an Olympic gold medalist, which leads us to overdoing it, and we end up with long term injuries and short term gains.
Despite its many advantages, running has its share of critics who say the relentless pounding ruins your knees, leads to chronic back pain, and causes wrinkles. But experts say the rewards of running far outweigh the risks.
Here’s a few tips on how to start out to make sure we lean more towards the gain side and avoid physical injuries.
- Walk your way to running
Although it’s tempting to run as fast as you can for as long as you can you’ll ultimately run longer, feel stronger, and stay injury free if you start by adding short bouts of running to your regular walks and gradually increasing the amount of time that you spend running. A good rule to “run” by is to run 1 minute for every 4 minutes you walk, the main goal should be to run twice as long as you walk.
Getting into running too fast too quickly can cause injuries like shin splints, IT band syndrome, and runner’s knee, which sideline many people. You can stay injury-free by gradually building up the time you spend walking and running, increasing the time by no more than 10 percent from week to week.
- Let your body lead the way.
Muscle soreness and aches-especially in the quadruplets and calves- are normal symptoms of a new exercise regime. However, soreness on one side only and sharp pains that worsen when you walk are a bad sign.
The most common running-related injuries chiropractors see in runners, are plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome, patella (knee) tracking problems and hip bursitis.
The first step in treating these injuries: Search for misalignment.
Misalignment of the spine can cause unnecessary tension on one particular body part versus an equal distribution of pressure. A chiropractor can’t take care of anyone’s chronic IT band problem without making sure their pelvis is in as perfect alignment as it can be. Otherwise, it’ll continue to wear, tear, and put strain on that one particular body part.
- Over time you’ll get to buy all the fancy gear, but the right pair of shoes-NON NEGOTIABLE
Don’t shop by fashion and trends. Whether you run on a treadmill or anywhere outside, the right pair of shoes is essential and could bring you hundreds of pain-free miles ahead. Replace your running shoes every 400-800 kilometers.
It’s also important to know how your feet move when you walk or run. In an article by REI, they outline the following:
Bio-mechanics of Running
With every stride, your heel typically strikes the ground first. It rolls slightly inward and the arch flattens to cushion the impact. Your foot then rolls slightly to the outside and stiffens to create a springboard to propel your next step.
As runners, however, we each experience different levels of these sideways motions as we stride. The key characteristics:
Pronation is the foot’s natural inward roll following a heel strike. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, bio mechanically efficient runners.
Over-pronation is an exaggerated form of the foot’s natural inward roll. It is a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overpronators need stability or motion control shoes.
Supination (also called under-pronation) is an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.
How can you be sure which running style is yours? A physical therapist could undoubtedly tell you, but a simpler answer is probably in your closet. If you own a well-used pair of running shoes, check the wear pattern on the soles.
- A neutral stride is indicated by shoe wear centralized to the ball of the foot and a small portion of the heel.
- Over-pronation is identified by wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe.
- Supination is marked by wear along the outer edge of your shoe.
At Chiropractic Dubai we offer a free footscan if you’re a patient of ours. Orthotics can assist with posture and pronation problems. Watch our news feed column for special offers on these.