How to prepare for a run

When the nicer weather appears, it’s common to want to start exercising outdoors. Many of us choose to take up the challenge of a fun run. Whether it’s a 5km, 10km, half marathon or full marathon (for those eager runners), adequate preparation is essential to a good performance and preventing injury in the lead up.

Here at MSPPC, we know a thing or two about how to prepare for a run. Here are a few handy first time jogging tips to help get you started.

Warm up with our first time jogging tips

First, when you’re preparing for a run, you want to make sure you have the right shoes that are going to properly support and cushion your foot. As podiatrists, we know all about this – so feel free to pick our brains.

It’s also important to warm up your muscles by doing some light stretches as you prepare for a jog.

Introduce a training routine

A common mistake that runners make when they’re preparing for a run is trying to do too much too soon. Instead of focusing on reaching the end goal quickly, we should be gradually increasing training. It doesn’t matter whether you start with 2km or 20km – the same principles will still apply in order to increase your distance and speed.

As a general rule, you should aim to increase your distance by no more than 10%. Now this can be total mileage per week or it can be kilometers per run. It shouldn’t necessarily be a 10% increase every time you run, but perhaps every second or third run instead – or aim to increase your distance by 10% increments every one to two weeks. This gives your body time to adapt and build fitness.

‘Over training can impede preparation in a couple of ways. Firstly, it puts the body at risk of developing injuries which may affect your ability to compete in your chosen event. Secondly, it can lead to burnout – both physically and mentally – when you’re not improving at the rate you expect.

The body needs recovery time to allow for tissue repair and adaptation to occur in order for it to improve. This happens with rest days, as well as working at an appropriate level on the days that involve training.

Try a range of different exercises

We often think that to prepare for a run, all you need to do is run, which is not the case. People who only run or run too much are at risk of developing overuse injuries.

Most running programs will have a combination of different exercise types including short and long runs, strength-based sessions, cross training and fartlek sessions. (For those who have not come across this term, ‘fartlek’ is the Swedish word for ‘speed play’ – which combines endurance with speed training).

The purpose of this is to break things up to prevent physical and mental burnout, as well as reducing the risk and avoiding any injuries. There are also a range of simple exercises you can implement to stretch the muscles and keep your legs in shape. Strength training, in particular, is essential as it builds muscle endurance and strength, which assists with your overall running performance.

If you find you are in any pain, or have injuries that need addressing, it is important that you see a physiotherapist or podiatrist for advice on how to manage these, so they do not impact your running.

Have fun

The most important part of any event is to have fun! If it feels like a chore or you are not enjoying it, change up what you are doing.

Try different locations to keep things interesting, and create playlists of your favourite music for when you’re heading out. You could even enlist a friend to join in with you. It’s also important to set small, manageable goals so you can keep yourself motivated and see your progress as you go.

Make sure you listen to your body as every person is different, and give yourself plenty of time to gradually build up your preparation.

Good luck! If you have any specific questions or injuries, contact our specialist team of podiatrists and physiotherapists. You can find us in Oakleigh and in Kew. Book online or call 03 98537836!