Are You Ready to Run?

Run Safely & Comfortably With Our Training Checklist

By Dr. Sabrina Landers, DPM 
This article originally appeared in the BAPA Villager.

The Ridge Run is fast approaching! Are you ready? How you train will affect your race day experience. Review this training checklist before you hit the street.

Shoes

Shoes are paramount to any runner’s success, but choosing shoes that are right for you may be trickier than expected. For example, if your goal is to be the Usain Bolt of Beverly/Morgan Park, consider training in a heavy running shoe and then switching to a lighter shoe before race day. Lighter shoes decrease foot fatigue and overall time to the finish line. Other things to consider when choosing shoes are foot type and structure. Wide width shoes accommodate bunions, a deep toe box accommodates hammertoes, and appropriate cushion for overall shock absorption is vital to success.

Old Injuries

Lingering injuries got you down? Pain in the ankle that you sprained when you were a teen? Old injuries can limit your abilities as training ramps up. Work with a foot and ankle care medical professional on ways to work through these injuries and keep you in top form throughout the training process.

Pace (Yourself)

If you are currently an avid runner, this one is not for you. For you first timers out there, listen up! Pace yourself. At this juncture, you have plenty of time to ramp up for your Ridge Run adventure. Breaking your training into reasonable distances will help you safely and comfortably reach your race day goals. You may consider starting with a brisk walk before you pound out your 10K.

Stretching (Before/After/After-after)

Stretching is life! Say this to yourself at 5 a.m. when you want to hop out of bed, lace up your runners, and fly away! Stretching will keep you comfortable throughout your run and beyond. We have all heard that stretching before and after your run is necessary for comfort. Has anyone every discussed after-after stretch? The buildup of lactic acid in your muscles can cause pain the following day. Ever hop of out bed only to find you can barely walk? We recommend a before-bed full-body stretch to combat this phenomenon. Again, professionals can show you stretches that will keep you running.

Recovery

Recovery during training will get you to the finish line! Allowing 48 hours between strenuous runs allows your body to recover and reduces foot fatigue. Varying your course, time, speed, and distance will keep you from developing injuries as you train. If you find that pain is ramping up, consider non-weight-bearing training options such as bike riding or swimming. These activities help rest your lower extremities. Varying your course, time, speed, and distance will allow for recovery of select muscle groups on different days.

New Injuries

Never run with a new injury. I repeat: Never run with a new injury! We know you are gunning for the finish line, but the best way to get there how by maintaining a healthy running machine. If new injures crop up, make an appointment for treatment ASAP.

Sabrina Landers, DPM, is a board certified Podiatrist at Keir Foot and Ankle Specialists, 11628 S. Western, 773-941-4040. This article is part of a series on training for a 5K or 10K.