Someone asks, how do I get back in shape
after not running for a long time, and how do I keep from getting hurt? Here
are some things to consider, from the ground up.
- The ground. If the surface you run on can absorb some of the shock of
your foot hitting the ground, then your leg (foot, ankle, knee) doesn’t have to.
Grass is great for your legs, but finding a grassy place to run isn’t easy.
Golf courses are perfect, but getting hit in the head with a golf ball isn’t.
Dirt trails are the next best thing, and I like the fact
that the irregular surface forces you to develop ankle
stability and balance. Asphalt
is sometimes a necessary
evil, but avoid running on it every day.
are the worst. All-weather
tracks are somewhere in the
middle of this range, but too boring for most cross-country
- The shoes. I cannot overstress the importance of a good, fresh pair of
running shoes suited to your biomechanics. Ryan’s Sport Shop is one of
a few excellent stores in the area. Ask for your Saratoga High XC discount, and
plan on spending about an hour finding the right pair for you.
- The legs. Running isn’t enough.
You need to develop a daily routine for strengthening the muscles that stabilize your knees, and for strengthening
the hamstrings. This is an absolute minimum.
Ask me if you don’t know what to do. Stretching is also critical
for some athletes who have limited flexibility. Brad.
4. The core. Work on strengthening either abs or lower
5. The brain. Use your head. Understand that pain is a
message from your body that you are doing something
wrong. Don’t ignore
it or mask it with pain relievers. If
you can’t figure out what your body is trying to tell you,
your coach and trainer
are there to help you.
Don’t ever minimize the importance
of rest, hydration and nutrition. You are an athlete, you make unusual demands
on your body, and you must be diligent about taking care of it.