Running offers an amazing range of benefits, from improved health and fitness, stress relief, and anxiety management, to increased vitality and effective weight management. These benefits make it one of the most popular sporting disciplines in the world.
Step 1: Visit a physio or biokineticist for an assessment to identify any underlying biomechanical issues or weaknesses that may be made worse by running. If any are identified, it’s advisable to complete a rehabilitation programme before engaging in any form of running.
It’s also advisable to visit your GP, especially if you’ve been inactive or sedentary for extended periods of time, you are/were a smoker, and/or have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Step 2: Establish a solid foundation that promotes optimal running form by ensuring you have the requisite flexibility and mobility, in addition to adequate core and glute strength. As little as 10 minutes a day of core and glute strength exercises and a variety of mobility drills, particularly those that target the feet, ankles, knees and hips, will help to reduce your chances of injury.
Step 3: Select the correct running shoes. Whenever possible, and where old injuries or biomechanical issues don’t preclude you, opt for neutral shoes with normal cushioning (avoid motion control stability shoes if possible) with a low heel-to-toe drop. Choose a quality brand and get expert advice when selecting the brand and model. Biokineticists and podiatrists are your best bet for this advice. Don’t just rely on shop assistants who have a rudimentary understanding of human biomechanics.
Visit www.adidas.co.za/running-1 to review the latest innovations from adidas.
Other equipment you might need includes:
- Comfortable running socks.
- Running shorts or tights and a T-shirt or vest. You might want to try running tops made from wicking fabrics so they don’t become water-logged when you sweat profusely.
- A stopwatch. This is particularly useful when training alone.
- A waterproof running top. An inexpensive brightly coloured, but a breathable waterproof top will be available at most sports stores.
- A reflector belt is essential if you plan to run at dawn, dusk or at night.
- A GPS-enabled running watch and heart rate monitor to track your progress and fitness levels.
Make sure you speak to your running shop assistant, who should be able to help you with the best choice of running kit for you, or visit www.shop.adidas.co.za/clothing/Running to view the brand’s range out running gear.
Step 4: Find a group or running club to train with. Joining a running club is a great way to meet new running partners, not to mention a great way to ensure you have access to a great number of experienced runners, with years of experience and knowledge that can be imparted to you during the many hours you will be spending on the road with them. Most clubs will also have a resident coach that will be able to give you advice on proper training techniques.
Adidas Run Base is a global community of runners with group runs and guided training sessions offered at various locations around the world, including South Africa. Visit www.adidas.co.za/adidasrunners to find out more.