STEP BY STEP: FIND YOUR NEW ROUTINE
Getting started is easier than you think – at any age
Have you stopped running for a few months or even years? Whether it’s after a forced break or you’re just getting into running because you want to get back into shape, you’ll be fit sooner than you think – no matter what your age. Check for any risk factors with your doctor, and go!
You should ease back into running gradually – the best way is by combining walking and jogging. The idea is to get you back into running shape, which means running 5km on a regular basis in just two months.
BE PATIENT – AND DON‘T PUSH YOUR LIMITS
While following the 2-month programme, it‘s easy to get impatient, but patience is the key. Don‘t try to run more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the programme too strenuous, just stretch it out. It’s important not to feel pressured to progress faster than you‘re able to. Repeat a week if you need to and move ahead only when you feel you‘re ready. Listen to your body and you’ll be fine.
ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
GETTING BACK INTO TRAINING
Some rules for beginners – and those who are starting again
Even if you are sticking to a programme such as this one, it’s completely normal to go through some periods where you’d really rather give up... and you’ll surely find plenty of excuses to do so. A good trick is to team up with a running partner or group. When you know that other people are counting on you to be there, you‘re more likely to stick to your training schedule. On top of that, the social interaction and competition that comes from training with others will boost your motivation.
All running paces will give you the health benefits you're looking for – and it‘s all about building up your routine gradually and steadily. So take your time and focus on going farther, not faster.
Remember: running should be a relaxed activity. And, yes, to begin running includes a lot of walking. That‘s fine.
|Week||Days a week
|1||2 to 3||Take it easy! Run at an easy pace, not more than 1km or 15-30 minutes, depending on your fitness. You can alternate easy running and walking – switch every two to five minutes, if you like. See whether you can increase by the end of the week. Overdoing it at the beginning would be a bad idea, as your body will feel sore and you will be demotivated.|
|2||3||Build up slowly. Alternating between running and walking is the way to go.|
|3||3||Run not more than 2km or 30-45 minutes at an easy jogging pace. If you notice any physical strains in the third week, stick to a non-impact workout or walking only.|
|4||4||Run 2 km. See whether you can speed up your pace for one day at least, then return to easy jogging for the other days.|
|5||4||Run 3 km or 40-60 minutes. Easy pace!|
|6||5||Begin with 3 km, then try 60-70 minutes by the end of the week.|
|Run 3 km. The time during this phase depends very much on your progress, but your aim should be to run 5km or 60-70 minutes by the end of the week.
| Run 4km.
Some tips to avoid strain or injury while running or starting to run again:
Always be sure to stretch, but not before running, as stretching 'cold' can damage your muscles. Stretch during and after your run. Run easily for about 5-10 minutes, then stretch once you are warm and your muscles and joints are more pliable. Also, stretch your calves after your run. Look into our video library for some stretching suggestions for special workouts.
You probably have your own running technique. Even if details don’t really matter that much here, experts agree that you should run tall (not slouched) and straight (not leaning far forward or backward). Don‘t over-stride – that could put extra strain on your knees. Let your arms relax and find a natural, comfortable stride.
Alternating running with walking doesn’t make you a loser – it’s a recommended technique to get back into your routine. It’s also fine to switch to walking once you have reached the point of fatigue or discomfort. Embrace walking as part of an overall run/walk strategy for completing long runs, or as a cross-training activity for non-running days in your training schedule.
Be sure to run with your mobile phone at hand, so that you can call someone in case of injury. Also, most smartphones support free apps that will help you set goals, track your route, your heartbeat, speed, pulse, calorie consumption and performance.
Make sure you have the right running shoes. Technology improves constantly, and when looking for the right shoe, it‘s smart to go to a running shop where they will make sure you get shoes that fit and provide the biomechanical support you need. Knowing how to look after your foot when it hits the road makes a huge difference. If you have problem feet, ask your doctor for orthotics (shoe inserts) to help prevent injuries. And remember to replace your shoes often.
Have you skipped or missed more than a few days of training? Then go back to your pace of the previous week. If you have been sick, return to the pace of the previous two weeks. If you‘ve been injured, it‘s better to come back slowly, and protect the affected areas such as knees or ankles with stabilising braces. See the Elastoplast range for smart solutions.
Yes, running can in some cases lead to (mostly minor) injuries, but most can be prevented if you warm up, avoid doing too much too soon and wear the right running shoes. Before you start again, try some workouts designed to strengthen running-specific muscles to build endurance and prevent injuries. (See our video library for specific examples.)
Pain in your calf or thigh?
It‘s important to find out whether your pain is a simple adaptation process (coping with the new challenge), actual overuse of muscles or joints, or tissue damage. Monitor the pain. If it subsides by reducing the amount and intensity of your programme, it is most likely to be an adapting process. If you keep reaching the same limit, you are probably putting your body under too much strain and it is overuse. In this case, you should see your doctor.
ACHING LIMBS? TRY THE RICER RULE
All runners have to deal with occasional aches and pains. If you experience mild aches and pains and a serious injury can be ruled out, follow the tried and tested RICER prescription: rest, ice, compression, elevation, referral. Try the convenient Elastoplast Cold Spray, which offers instant cooling anywhere, anytime. Don‘t overuse pain medication and anti-inflammatories, and see your doctor if the pain persists.
The overall benefits of running outweigh the risks, even when you start in your fifties or later.
Better function, fitness and overall health are the rewards for getting out of bed early every morning – as well as fewer disabilities.
These braces support and add stability to your knee and assist the overall coordination of muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint. This applies to the recovery phase after injury, and to cases of chronic instability. Some joints need the support of a brace if muscles are weakened or not strong enough to cope with the exercise, which you will notice by muscle fatigue setting in before the end of your activity.
Please note that none of the tips above replace professional medical advice. Consult a health professional in case of an injury or if you suspect overuse of joints or a medical condition such as a fracture. A physician should be consulted in those acute cases when the condition is accompanied by reddening, swelling or hyperthermia of joints, ongoing joint trouble or severe pain and/or are associated with neurological symptoms (e.g. numbness, tingling, loss of motion).
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