With spring weather upon us, you might be thinking about starting a running routine. Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation physical therapist Richard Singer, PT, CMTPT, shares a few tips to help runners stay safe and avoid injury.
A runner having the right footwear is just as important a football player wearing a helmet. If you’re a new runner and unsure where to start, Richard recommends finding a retailer who specializes in footwear for runners. Retailers who specialize in equipment for runners will have knowledge of different types of running shoes and help you choose which one is right for you. He explains, “A new runner might want a cross trainer sneaker because they might start training with a combination of walking, jogging and running.”
Once you have the proper footwear and are ready to start running remember to warm up. Your warm-up can consist of several minutes of walking, as well as dynamic stretching to help prepare your lower body for more strenuous movement. Some exercises Richard recommends, include:
- Heel raises
- Toe raises
- Standing hamstring curls
- Lunges combine with trunk rotation
After you’ve completed your warmup, you’re ready to run! Try a routine that eases you into your running goals. Richard shared, “If you are new to running, I recommend considering a routine that combines walking, jogging and running for the first several weeks. Start with equal parts of each and gradually increase the time you spend running and decrease the time you spend walking.”
While running, it’s important to set an appropriate pace. A good rule of thumb is being able to maintain a conversation while running. If you are running with a friend, put it to the test! Training runs should not be so intense that you are breathless and unable to hold a conversation.
Another way to set an appropriate pace is by measuring your heart rate. You want to train at 60 to 70 percent of your age-adjusted maximum heart rate. You can find this by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, the maximum heart rate for a 50-year-old is 170, which means their target heart rate is 102-119 beats per minute.
Richard Singer is both a physical therapist and certified manual physical therapist with Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation.