Today we are talking about basic healthy running habits, and how we go about keeping our running legs in tip top condition.
SLEEP & RECOVERY
Recovery is really quite a broad topic, which could encompass nutrition, hydration, cool downs & stretching and sleep. Recovering from our training is just as important as the training itself. Without adequate recovery, our bodies do not adapt to the training and we do not see positive results or changes. Just like we can’t expect our car to drive without fuel, we cannot expect our bodies to run without the appropriate fuel & recovery. Adults should achieve approximately 8-10 hours good quality sleep every night for optimum health and function. If you are newer to running, I would always suggest to start your training slowly, and not run every day. A great way to tackle this may be running 3 days per week, on non-consecutive days. Training in this way will increase your chances of recovering between runs and reducing your likelihood for pain or injury.
Whether you are participating in a 5km walk/run or the 21 km half marathon, hydration is important. Our bodies are predominantly made up of water, so it only makes sense that we keep well hydrated. The daily recommendation for fluid intake for adults’ ranges between 2-2.6 litres, or 8-10 cups of water. This requirement increases with exercise, and even more so when exercising in warm conditions. I find when I am training, I like to make sure that I have had at least 1.5 litres throughout the day prior to my run, and plenty after my run, depending on the training session and the weather. Without proper hydration, our bodies struggle to perform, but more importantly they struggle to recover, so please ensure you keep this in mind.
Running is quite demanding on the body! It requires balance, co-ordination, stability and strength. Often, we see people who do a lot of running, but the missing piece of the puzzle is strength & stability work. To supplement your running training, I would recommend some basic lower limb strengthening exercises, to be completed 2-3 times per week. These exercises do not have to be in a gym setting, nor do they have to be done with weights. The main goal of these exercises is to improve both the strength and control of predominantly single leg movements such as calf raises, squats, step ups and bridges. Of course, exercise prescription is very individualized, so it is best to book in for a physiotherapy appointment for some guidance with these exercises.
WARM UP & COOL DOWN
The best warm-up you can do for any sport is a lower intensity version of the sport you are about to perform. For running, you guessed it, a brisk walk progressing into a jog is the best way to get prepared. Cooling down works in much the same way. After a run it is a great idea to complete a slower jog or walk to slowly reduce your heart rate & breathing rate. This helps our cardiovascular & muscular systems to process the workload more efficiently!
Loryn Savoia, Physiotherapist APAM.