man in need of running tips

Five Essential Tips for Running

Running is a convenient way to stay active. You don’t need a gym membership, a bunch of equipment, or a special place to do it. Just get outside and start running!
But there are some things you should know. As a high-impact activity, running can put a lot of strain on your body, so it’s important that you do it properly to avoid injuries. 
If you’re ready to get started, here are five essential tips for running:

Warm Up and Cool Down

Most people know that doing some kind of warm-up is important to get your body prepared for exercise and avoid injuries. It gradually warms up your core muscle temperature and increases blood flow.

But did you know that the cool down after a run is just as important? If you stop exercising too suddenly, it can cause cramps, nausea, or even fainting.

So warm up by beginning your run with some stretches followed by 10 minutes of walking or slow running. End your run the same way to cool down.

Start slow

Whenever you are starting a new exercise or increasing its intensity, there is some risk of injury. That’s because your muscles and joints may not be prepared for the new amount of strain they’ll be experiencing.

So if you are just getting into running, don’t overdo it. Start with shorter runs before going long distance, and focus on a comfortable pace instead of pushing yourself to your limits. 

When you’re ready to increase the intensity of your runs, you should do it gradually over time. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t increase the length of your runs by more than 10 percent per week.

Get proper footwear

Wearing the right shoes is essential to running comfortably. Ensuring your shoes provide proper support and cushioning can help you prevent pain in your feet, knees, back, and other areas of the body. So get a good quality pair of running shoes, and make sure you replace them before they get totally worn out.

The best option would be to invest in custom orthotics. They provide support that’s tailored to your unique biomechanics and can help you move as efficiently as possible.

Change it up

If running is your go-to physical activity, you should consider changing it up a bit.

Alternating running with low-impact activities can help you avoid joint pain and injuries. Incorporating activities like cycling, elliptical training, or swimming can add variety to your routine.

Also, cross-training can make you a better runner. Activities like cycling will strengthen the supporting muscles used while running, while also giving your primary running muscles a chance to rest and recuperate.

Stay safe

If you’re running on a road that has a sidewalk, you are required by law to use the sidewalk. However, when there’s no sidewalk, you’re allowed to run on the shoulder, and there’s no federal law about which side to run on. 

To stay safe when running on the side of a road, you should run against traffic. This lets you see what’s coming, so you can adjust your position or react to distracted drivers. Also, always wear clothing with high visibility.

Woman with Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t Let Plantar Fasciitis Stop You in Your Tracks

If you follow sports news, you probably know that plantar fasciitis is a common injury. Often there are stories about professional athletes being sidelined for weeks because of it. For some, the injury causes pain that lasts for months or even years.

So if you live an active lifestyle and want to keep it that way, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis

This injury affects the plantar fascia. That’s the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your toes to your heel bone. Normally, that tissue behaves like a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot.

The injury is caused by too much tension and stress leading to small tears in that tissue. Because it’s related to stress and overuse, it’s common among runners and athletes in high-impact sports.

But you don’t have to be running marathons to get plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, just wearing shoes that don’t provide proper support can be enough to cause it. In fact, plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of heel pain.

What Does it Feel Like?

The symptoms typically involve stabbing pain near the heel, which is at its worst with your first steps in the morning. And the pain tends to intensify after exercise rather than during it.

How to Prevent or Heal It

Whether you’re being proactive to avoid an injury, or have already felt the pain of plantar fasciitis, here are a few things that can help:

Stretch it Out

  • Toe stretches: Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other. Then grab hold of all your toes and gently pull them up towards you.
  • Calf stretches: Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, then lean towards the wall while keeping your back knee straight and your heel on the ground.
  • Towel curls: Lay a hand towel on a smooth floor, then sit in a chair and put one foot on it. Then, using only your toes, scrunch the towel towards you bit by bit.

Go Low Impact

High-impact activities like running and jumping put stress on the plantar fascia. So, focusing more on low-impact exercise is a great way to stay active while avoiding heel pain. Some good examples include swimming, cycling, rowing, and elliptical.

Get a Foot Massage

Foot Massage

Some runners swear by massage as a way to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. There are methods that make it easy to do yourself, such as sitting in a chair and using your foot to roll a hard, round object (like a bottle or a ball) back and forth.

But a massage therapist can do a better job. Through treatments like deep tissue massage, they can relieve soft tissue strains, improve circulation to the injury, and help you heal quicker.

Get Some Support

Getting some good orthotic inserts or orthotic shoes can make a world of difference. Firstly, by providing proper support and cushioning, they can provide some immediate relief from pain. Secondly, orthotics will take the stress off your plantar fascia, helping you to heal quicker.

In addition, when you’re suffering from heel pain, it can cause you to change your walking style as you try to accommodate it. This can lead to issues in other areas of the body, by putting added stress on your knees and hips for example. But orthotics avoid this problem by accommodating for your pain while keeping you moving naturally.

The most important thing is to make sure you get your orthotics custom made because the ones you can buy off-the-shelf can actually make matters worse. That’s because they’re a one-size-fits-all solution, in contrast to custom orthotics which take into account your unique issues and needs.

To design custom orthotics, a specialist will assess your injury, the shape of your feet, and the way you move. They’ll also take an impression of your feet to ensure your orthotics are perfectly tailored to you.

Start Living Pain Free

Now that you know some of the ways to prevent plantar fasciitis and relieve foot pain, it’s time to put them into action. Try out the methods above and you’ll see how easy it can be to leave foot pain behind you.