Running is arguably the most popular form of cardio exercise, especially in Miami. If you plan on joining a run club this year, or have made it your mission to hit the streets solo, avoid these three common mistakes, particularly if you’ve taken a break longer than six months. The probability of injury is much higher at the start of a new training program, so it’s best to start slow and gradually build.
- Pump Up (or Down) Your Volume: The majority of runners that develop issues usually do so because they’ve taken on too much too soon. Either that, or their hard-runs are too hard and their easy runs are too easy (i.e. six miles on Saturday and two on Monday/Wednesday). Good, general rules are: 1) start with less than 25 miles/week total, 2) make the long-run only 20-30% longer than typical runs, and 3) only add 10% training volume per week.
- It’s (Should Be) Getting Hot in Here: Nobody likes the warm-up, but it is of utmost importance – and it can be super simple. I have all my patients walk fast (like power walking) for 10-minutes before each run. This allows the proper muscles to start working, and also signals any potential weak points, letting you know if something is not right. It’s a quick and safe way to check-in, indicating if you need to dial down that day, or if you can continue with a normal run following the warm-up.
- Shoes Blues: Getting the right shoes is huge. Many people will buy the shoes that a friend recommends because they hear “this shoe is magic, it fixed all of my problems!” But it is important to understand that everyone is different, and shoes should be considered on an individual basis. Consider buying new shoes if you plan on increasing your run volume, especially if your old pair is already worn out. Your body may be different (heavier, lighter, stiffer in certain areas) so it’s always best to start with a fresh pair. Plus, an old shoe already is going to give less than optimal support. There’s a lot of advice out there about choosing the best shoe, but in general, someone with flexible feet needs a firmer shoe, and someone with stiffer feet can use a softer sole. If you aren’t sure what kind of feet you have, ask a healthcare professional with experience in running, or go to a running specialty shop.