Running a marathon, half marathon or a 10K asks a lot of your body, from your heart to your muscles to your joints. You can improve your performance and take care of your body by following the tips below.
Prepare slowly. Work your way up from smaller distances before attempting any long distance races. To help your body build endurance, run a little more each day with a few days of shorter distances peppered in. So you may run a mile the first day, a mile and a quarter the second, then back down to a mile.
Know your limits. If something feels wrong when you are running or you feel pain, stop before you injure yourself. Feeling a burn in your muscles is okay, but feeling pain is usually a sign your body needs a break.
Avoid second injuries. If you’ve been injured before, you are more likely to experience an injury again. Talk to a sports medicine or orthopaedic physician about your injury and how it may affect your running style. Seeing a physical therapist or athletic trainer may also be helpful.
Hydrate. When you exercise, you sweat, using up the water in your cells. Without water, your cells can’t function properly, increasing your risk of muscle cramps, loss of coordination or even heat stroke.
Wear the right gear. It’s important that you wear shoes that fit correctly and provide the support you need. You should also wear clothing that is comfortable and airy to keep your body cool, such as a polyester shirt that wicks away moisture.
Practice good posture. Relax your arms and shoulders while keeping your elbows bent. Always run with a straight back and your head up. Try to hit the ground with the middle of your foot on each stride and don’t put your foot down hard. Keep your step light. This posture will help you keep your balance and avoid injury.
Stretch. After you have finished running, warm down and stretch your muscles gently.
If you have more questions about running or how to improve your running, you can contact Bon Secours In Motion. Our physical therapists and athletic trainers have the expertise to make you a better, healthier runner.