There seems to be a lot of people that are going out and pounding the pavement for the first time (in a while). This is a good thing! But it’s important not to bite of more than you can chew. The problem with people getting off the couch and going for a run is that they don’t consider the SKILL of running.
If you’re a newbie, and you simply get up and go to the gym. You’re not going to be confident walking up to the squat rack and getting underneath a bar, are you?
But because running seems to be something we do ‘naturally’, every man and his dog is confident to go out there and start running. There are a few problems with this.
Running mechanics are crucial to staying safe and injury free.
Depending on how sedentary you’ve been, your body is going to be taking on a shit load of new forces (particularly the lower limb, knees, hips, pelvis and low back).
You’re going to try and do more than you’re capable of.
So how should we start running?
Ideally you get a coach. A running skills coach. Not a PT off the street. Most personal trainers know sweet f*ck all about running mechanics. But that’s okay, there are plenty of great coaches out there that can help you with this.
Start slow. Slower than you think. If you’ve never tried running before (or at least for a while). Don’t go out and run a 5km for time. Start by running shorter distances at lower intensities. As a newbie, when you get tired, you WILL compromise your form. Compromised form under fatigue = injury.
Change your running surface. Flat asphalt road runs when you’re starting out are going to destroy your lower body. Hopefully, you’ve worked on your technique and you’re not…
smacking your heel into the ground.
stepping out in front of your body.
chopping your arms across your midline.
rotating through your core too much.
looking at your feet.
But if you are… maybe start by using hills to improve your technique. Hills are a great way to teach running mechanics without too much thought. Simply run up, walk down. If hills are no good, at least find a grassy surface so there’s less impact.