Are You Ready to Run?

What better way to celebrate our community than to take a run through it? Running is not only a time efficient way to get fit, but it requires little equipment and is also very accessible. Around Fernie, there are many trails appropriate for all running levels. The important question, however, is to ask yourself if you are ready to run.

1. Before you start. Do an injury assessment. Runners are frequently plagued with knee, hip, ankle, shin and back issues so before you begin, make sure you are starting with a healthy body. Anyone with cardiovascular, obesity, knee, hip, ankle or health concerns should consult a doctor before embarking on a program. A well fitting, comfortable running shoe is also key.

2. Getting started. If you have never been a runner, you should start slowly and build up your tolerance. A run-walk program (run one to two minutes, walk four to five minutes for 20 minutes) is a great way to start. If you are experienced, starting with a mellow 20-30 minute run at an intensity of 50-80 percent will help your body adapt for bigger runs. Starting with two to three runs weekly, only increase your mileage and intensity by ten percent increments. Remember you should never run through pain, if you are experiencing pain, walk until it disappears. If you have discomfort after your run, then make sure you decrease your intensity the next run.

3. Warm up/cool down. Prior to each run, a quick dynamic warm up is recommended (arm circles, body twists, knee to chest, toe touches). At the beginning of your run, take the first three to five minutes easy, using a slow jog or fast walk. Similarly, take three to five minutes at the end of your run to slow your heart rate down. Stretching after your run is the most effective because your muscles are warm and easy to work with.

4. Running style. Check your running style to make sure you are not bouncing your head up and down too much. Try to drive your arms from your shoulders and not your elbows, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees and not allowing them to go across your body causing you to twist too much. Lean slightly forwards from your ankles, not your waist, and try to lift your knees higher to increase your stride length. Keep your chest and head up to allow yourself to take in the most oxygen.

5. Cross train. Running injuries tend to be linked to overuse of your outer thigh, calves and hip flexors, so making sure you are keeping your inner thigh, hamstring and glute muscles strong will help keep you balanced. A general strength-training routine two to three times weekly that includes core exercises is optimal to re-balance your overused muscles.

6. Rest. Make sure you are building rest into your week. Start with two to three runs a week and increase to no more than five to six runs (as long as some are much shorter than others). Rest is important to help your muscles recover and be ready to run again.

The most important thing you can do is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are experiencing muscle soreness, decrease your frequency, intensity and duration of your running. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself and the wonderful views of our community!