How To Start Running – Advice from a Physiotherapist - Medshield Movement

How To Start Running – Advice from a Physiotherapist

Running is on the rise! With people wanting to spend more time outside, not renewing their gym contracts and looking to shed lockdown weight, more and more people have started running! If you’re keen to join this movement, we’ve got all the tips and tricks for you!

Running is an amazing sport for many reasons, including an accessible way to lose weight, get cardio fit and benefit from mood-boosting endorphins! If you’ve decided you’d like to give running a try, but are unsure how to get started, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

A good place to start is the free “Couch to 5km programme” available for all Medshield members. This programme will help guide you from the very beginning, with a steady, gradual build-up to your first 5km run. The trick with running is to go slow in the beginning and by that, we mean walking! Trying to do too much too quickly will lead to injuries.

Ready to get going? Make sure you warm up your body first! If you’re not sure how, try “​​6 Warm-Up Moves For Runners”. In order to track your time and to help you improve your running speed, there are a number of free apps we recommend using. Read about them here: The Best FREE Running Tracking Apps”. And don’t worry if you don’t have a fitness watch or tracker yet, simply start by using the Strava app on your smartphone to track your runs.

Advice from the Physiotherapist

Cape Town-based physiotherapist Genine Manchip recently shared with us beginner-friendly running advice and how to avoid injuries. Genine is a running specialist and a triathlete, which is why we’ve asked her to weigh in.

  1. Get the right shoes! “Make sure that you use running-specific shoes,” says Genine. “This might sound obvious, but you will be surprised at how many beginners run in sneakers and this can lead to injuries because of the lack of support they offer,” she explains. “There are a few shops that can assess your running style and determine if you need a neutral or a stability shoe.”
    She advises doing these tests before buying a pair of shoes!! Certain athletic stores offer this assessment for free.
  2. “Be conservative,” says Genine. “Start with a run-walk routine of 20-30 minutes and gradually increase the amount of running you do.”
  3. “Progressively increase your mileage from week to week, aiming for no more than a 10% increase in kilometres,” advises Genine. “Begin with two to three days a week with a day in between to recover.”
  4. Include strength training. “Do one to two days a week of simple strength exercises to strengthen your hips, gluteal muscles – your buttocks – and calf muscles. If you are unsure what to do, visit a physiotherapist who specialises in running injuries and they can screen you and prescribe exercises specific to your needs,” she says.
  5. Stretch! “Stretch your muscles after a run – especially your glutes (buttocks) and quads (thighs), advises Genine.

For those recovering from Covid-19, Genine has provided a 6-stage guide on how to get back into running. You can read her advice here: “How to Start Exercising Again after COVID-19 Recovery”.

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