10 tips for regular runners

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Set SMART Running Goals

A gradual training program that is tailored to your experience, fitness level, and what you want to achieve can help you reach your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based)  running goals. Try to find a challenge or competition that will keep you motivated for the entire length of your program. Remember, the will to begin and persevere is more powerful than the will to win!!

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Listen to your body

One of the key factors in the prevention of injuries is a proper balance of the stresses applied to your muscles, tendons, bones and joints… and giving your body enough time to adapt. Be smart! If you feel pain, you may want to reduce the intensity or frequency of your physical training and take it easy for a few days. 

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Select the right running shoes

Ultimately, the “right” running shoes for you will be ones that you feel comfortable running in. Beginner runners may want to stay away from bulkier shoes with “corrective” technologies. Consider shoes that are more minimalist (lighter, less cushioning, more flexible, lower heel-toe drop, no "corrective" technologies) as they can help promote higher cadence and foot strengthening.

 

Not sure what a minimalist shoe is? Check out the Minimalist Index.

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Keep the step rate (cadence) up!

To reduce the risk of injuries and improve your running economy, it is advisable to take shorter and more frequent steps (3 per second, or 180 per minute). Note: you don’t need to run faster to take more steps – cadence and speed are not the same!

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Run more frequently

Did you know that running four to six times a week, instead of two to three times, can reduce your risk of injury? Running more often can actually help your body adapt and become more efficient, as long as your body is able to recover from the intensity and duration of your sessions.

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Run on different surfaces

The odds of developing an -itis (such as tendinitis, bursitis, fasciitis, etc.) can be reduced by avoiding excessive repetition. Running on different surfaces forces your body to vary its movements, thus reducing repeated movements that might lead to injury. However, remember that introducing new running surfaces should be gradual, just like any other change in your program! 

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Optimize your biomechanics

Although not a priority for beginner runners, as you start to run more often you might want to consider how your running gait influences your efficiency or performance.  For this, we recommend you see a health care professional or coach who specializes in running.  Tip: You’ll likely get better results if the health professional or coach you see is specialized in running AND is a runner themselves!  Not sure who is specialized in running? Click here to Find an Expert.

 

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Strengthen your weak links

Strengthening exercises can help improve your performance and prevent injuries. Running barefoot can also be a great way to strengthen your feet. This can be done by selecting a safe surface and adding an extra minute per week.  

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Stretch it out

Dynamic stretches are recommended as warm-up exercises.  Static stretches are recommended only for those who experience muscular stiffness and should be done following training

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Motivate others!

 

Running will become a passion. After a few weeks of perseverance, you might become hooked and try to convince everyone around you to start running! Keep running, and encourage others to reap the health benefits of this fantastic physical activity!

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