Running is great for your fitness, and if you are thinking about entering a running event it is commonly recommended to complete a 12 week training program.

More often than not, most running injuries develop because people beginning or returning to running do too much too fast which doesn’t allow the body adapt to the stresses of running.

Allow yourself time to gradually progress – if you’re entering an event, don’t decide to do it last minute! For example, if you want to enter this year’s City-Bay be held in Adelaide on Sunday 18 September 2016, a 12 week program would start the week beginning the 27 June.

So now is a good time to start preparing! Here are some tips to help you achieve your goal:

  • Set a goal-time (and distance) that is appropriate for your ability – make sure your goals are realistic and achievable
  • Make a plan leading up to your event – choose a program to work towards your distance and goal. There are many different types of training plans out there, do some research to find one that suits you (a plan should include a mix of long runs, easy runs, speed or hill work, intervals of race pace/easy pace)
  • Build distance gradually – allow your body to adjust to running longer distances
  • Warm-up and warm-down – especially stretching after a run helps reduce your risk of developing injuries!
  • Invest in good quality running shoes and make sure they are laced up properly – using the last eyelet helps secure your foot in your shoe to prevent slippage
  • Ensure you take some rest days – they are actually crucial in a good program, more is not always better
  • Add in some cross-training to decrease the impact on your lower limb joints – do some weights, cycling, swimming or playing different sports to mix it up
  • Find a running buddy or join a group – this helps with motivation and also adds a great social aspect! There are free park runs organised Australia-wide – check out one closest to you on parkrun Australia
  • You are what you eat! Think about what you’re fuelling your body with, not only on race day but for all training runs also.
  • Adequate hydration is important before, during and after runs! Water is best to use for hydration, and sports drinks can be used when doing longer endurance exercise, but are often used when not required.

If you need help with your running program or have any pain or niggles that need attention, make an appointment with a Northcare physiotherapist who can help you achieve your running goals.