In which ways, do you think, running enthusiasts are most likely to hurt themselves? Yes, you got that right.
a. Not bothering to get a physical.
b. Not doing a warm-up and stretching exercise
c. Wrong shoes.
d. Wrong footing (technique)
e. Bad body posture
f. Doing too much too soon
g. Not varying the exercise routine
I mean, I could go with the list (to include not listening to body signals, not stretching after a jog/run, not breathing well etc). My earlier posts have emphasized the need to warm-up and stretch to avoid injuries and I have spelt out few of the essential stretches you must do before a jog/run on the treadmill. Let’s look at the other culprits:
a. Not bothering to get a physical: It may be a textbook approach but a very, very essential one. If you are new to jogging/running on the treadmill or are starting out late (age wise) with the sport, this could hold a special significance. A basic pre-medical test will show the status of your current health and if you are fit for running/jogging etc. If it shows abnormal values of heart readings, BP or sugar, bone density, you should go as per the advice of your doctor.
b. I will go on to c. You may check my prior posts for stretching.
c. Wrong shoes: Quite a few of us launch into running without the right shoes. I say ‘right’, because they may be running shoes, only worn out. Moreover, you have to see that you have running shoes (not walking or aero shoes). There are wide varieties of sport shoes out there. Pick one for the kind of activity you choose. There are differences in their design to support the type of movement a sport has. If you are a keen runner, doing about 8-10 miles per treadmill session more than thrice a week, change your shoe every 8-9 months. It is less expensive and painful than treating shin splints or getting a knee or ankle surgery done.
d. Wrong footing: I have been a victim of this one. When I started out on jogging some years back, my left foot was falling flat on the treadmill belt. This was stressing the left shin. The trouble began after getting into the 3rd month of jogging. The body was able to endure the torture for this long and then the shin splint symptoms began. It made it impossible for me to do my favourite activity. It took another 2 painful months and some lessons in patience before I could fully treat it. Get your instructor to see your footing on the treadmill and correct it if necessary.
e. Bad Posture: This one is a biggie. Bending forward too much above the waist while running is a killer. Another one is holding on to dear life at the handrails of the treadmill on an incline. Both injure your back. Strike the right posture with the help of your instructor.
f. Doing too much too soon: Diving into a treadmill workout plan is like getting on a crash diet. Inch into it. The idea is not to hurt yourself. You want to continue with your exercises. Give the body a chance to adjust to the new regime. Do not increase your running distance more than 10% each week.
g. Not varying the exercise routine: This causes the same muscles to work in the same way spread over months together. This causes what is popularly called Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). The treadmill is a classic instrument that gives RSIs. Don’t be a slave to routine. Vary your workout so that you use some muscles on one day and others on the next turn and rotate the usage. Adding variety will also take care of the boredom and eventual avoidance that sets into most regimens as time passes.