Running, an activity that has truly survived the test of time, dates back to 776 B.C where it was officially recognized as a sport in the first ever ancient Olympic games. Prior to sport recognition, running was a necessity – our ancestors ran for protection, to get from point A to point B, and even to catch their supper. Today running has become super trendy – and not in a bad way. People run for a multitude of reasons; the mental and physical health benefits are major contributing factors. Whether you are an avid runner, aspiring runner, or a new runner (many have joined the scene partially in thanks to COVID-19), I have some tips and tricks of the trade for you.
OMG – Shoes!
Running is one of the most accessible sporting activities available to the human race. All you really need is a pair of shoes. The running shoe industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are a lot of choices out there: Nike, Asics, Brooks, Saucony, Adidas… the list goes on and on. But what shoes should you wear? That’s a bigger and better question that doesn’t necessarily come with a straightforward, black and white answer. My best advice is this: wear what feels comfortable and fits your foot properly. No two peoples body (biomechanics) or running style are the same: buying a shoe because it was recommended to you by a sales rep, family member, friend, or avid runner doesn’t mean it will be right for you. This doesn’t help us narrow it down after all, so let’s get a bit more specific. Here are the 3 things you are going to want to keep in mind when looking at footwear:
- Stability: how much support and flexibility does the shoe offer.
- Heel Drop: the difference in height (mm) between the heel and toe portion of the shoe (under 6mm increases your chance of injury)
- Cushioning: the spring foam in the shoe.
Again there is more to it than that, such as your gait (running) style and if you have any underlying injuries (past or present); but overall, if the shoe fits properly and feels comfortable start with that.
It’s all about style
There are generally 3 categories of runners: heel strikers (80% of people), midfoot strikers (15% of people), and forefoot runners (being up on your toes – think sprinters). Over the last few years there has been a push in the running industry to buy minimalist shoes (eg. Vibram FiveFingers) and change your running pattern to more of a forefoot (toe) running pattern. I’m not necessarily against this form but keep in mind that that running style is not for everyone. In my opinion, there is no one best or optimal gait pattern for running as there are pros and cons to all three striking motions. For example, if you have issues with your hips, knees, or ankles a heel strike pattern likely won’t do you any good, and a midfoot/forefoot striking pattern is less advised for those with any ankle or foot issues. Regardless of your current style of running it is CRUCIAL to note that if you plan on changing your striking pattern it should be thoroughly planned and completed in a slow and controlled manner to avoid decreasing your efficiency or causing problems/injuries elsewhere.
“But it was only five kilometres”
This is something heard all too often. If you’ve said this in surprise after realizing you are overly sore or have potentially become injured post-run, this will feel all too real for you. Well, at least it hits home for me and my type A personality. Most running related injuries are caused by doing too much too fast, which could be in terms of running capacity (distance, tempo/speed, or hills), gait changes, or just straight up doing too much distance/week. As a result I always recommend following a plan, regardless of your running IQ, and not just getting out there and training all willy nilly, potentially hurting yourself in the process. On average you can use the following timelines for your training, keep in mind these ranges depend on your base mileage:
- 5 km: eight -12 weeks
- 10 km: eight -12 weeks
- 21.2 km (half marathon): 16 – 18 weeks
- 42.2 km (full marathon): 16 – 22 weeks
If you are new to running there are a lot of great free programs out there to get you started (e.g. The Running Clinic’s “my first 5km” : t.ly/SidH ). If you are looking for further advice or consultation on developing, progressing, or modifying a program, I’m available and happy to help you with an individualized program, regardless of your running history, level, or ability.
If you do happen to get injured while training/running it is always best to try to get help as soon as possible. I get it, having ran countless 10kms, 3x half marathons and 2x full tough mudders myself, sometimes you just think that the little nagging pain is going to dissipate and go away on its own. But keep in mind that immediate action will decrease the chance of the problem becoming worse or degenerative as well as (likely) decrease your recovery time and most importantly place less of a hinderance on your training so you can reach your end goal.
For more information or to book an appointment call 705-380-3312 or visit the website . Surge Physiotherapy is located at 33 King William Street, Suite 204, in Huntsville. Office hours are flexible with evening appointments available (3x/week). Email – email@example.com
Stephanie is a bilingual, Registered Physiotherapist with the College of Physiotherapist of Ontario and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association who is committed to providing a hands on, personalized approach to physiotherapy.
Stephanie, a native to the Huntsville community, developed a passion for health and wellness during her youth while competing in cross-country running, nordic skiing, and track and field. Stephanie has always had a strong caring nature and fell in love with the physiotherapy profession while volunteering at a physiotherapy clinic during high school and university.
Stephanie continued to build on her passion for health care by attending McGill University and completing her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology. During her Masters in Health Science of Physiotherapy, completed at the University of Ottawa, she completed internships in orthopaedic clinics, hospitals, home care, and neurology centres.