Participating in a big running event can be quite an uplifting experience, and we are very lucky to have a great opportunity right in our backyard: The annual Pear Blossom Run.
If you have never participated in a run, or even been on the sidelines, it can be a bit difficult to convey just how electric and supportive the atmosphere can be. A run might not seem like a whole lot in itself, but it contains a huge range of personal goals among so many different people. And just by showing up, people know you’re someone to cheer for!
Race day for the 2019 Pear Blossom Run is April 13. If you’re just now feeling inspired to run, you will want to greatly temper your expectations. Running is not something you just want to try blasting out of the gate doing. You’re bound to hurt yourself that way! However, like we said, there are so many different personal goals in this pursuit, and starting out reasonably is a more than valid approach.
And even if you’ve been running a bit, it still pays to keep stock of what you’re doing in your training. The experts at Southern Oregon Foot and Ankle are proud supporters of the Pear Blossom Run and all its runners!
Here are some running tips to keep in mind no matter what level you’re approaching the Pear Blossom Run or a similar event. Training well and avoiding demotivating sports injuries should always be primary goals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Small
The Pear Blossom Run may be a race, but your personal conditioning should not be treated the same way.
It takes time to work up to the right condition to take on a length of track. Taking on the Pear Blossom 10-mile event or even the 5K before you’re ready may not only be spiritually discouraging, it can leave you with a painful injury such as a stress fracture or Achilles tendinitis.
If you’re just starting out a month before a run, odds are high that you won’t be ready to take on longer distances yet. The 1- or 2-mile fun runs that Pear Blossom offers might be a better starting point to get a taste of a running event. And that’s exactly what you should do: have fun and be patient with yourself.
If you have questions about whether you are prepared for a running event, ask us or your primary care physician. We’ll be more than happy to help you determine your condition.
Train Up Gradually
If you think you can cram a bunch of training into a short time to ready yourself for an event, you are dangerously misunderstanding how your body works.
Training and exercise improve our bodies by essentially breaking down our muscles and bones. They then rebuild stronger and more capable of handling the workload you’re giving them.
But our bodies are not eternal, indestructible machines. If we force ourselves too much too soon, or don’t give our bodies enough time for the rest and rebuild phase, we are much more likely to hurt ourselves than grow better.
As a general rule of thumb, never seek to increase the intensity of your workouts by more than 10 percent per week. This could mean 10 percent longer distance or 10 percent more time.
And even then, 10 percent is not a measure you need to absolutely adhere to. If the strain of 10 percent is feeling like too much, dial it back. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you and don’t push yourself anywhere beyond a normal muscle ache the day after a workout.
And never engage in a workout plan that does not allow days for rest or gives you two high-intensity days in a row. A day after a high-intensity workout should be a day off, or it should be low-intensity and/or cross-training.
If you’re just starting out running, it might feel potentially wasteful to invest in a new pair of running shoes. But the truth is, having the right pair of shoes is going to be a whole lot more comfortable and a whole lot less stressful on your feet and ankles.
Shoes that are not made for running will not have the right kind of support and stability for what you want to do. Additionally, different types of running shoes are made for different types of foot and arch shapes. A trained associate at a running or sporting goods store can help find the best options for you.
In some cases, however, additional help to support your foot shape might be needed. We can supply this in the form of custom-made orthotics that you can slip into your everyday shoes, too.
If you’re already a seasoned runner, when is the last time you replaced your shoes? While they may feel faithful, shoes that have worn down will no longer provide the support you need—and you will end up feeling it one way or another.
Typically, a running shoe should be retired after 300-500 miles, depending on how much stress you are putting on your footwear. If you have spent that much time with your shoes, you will likely be able to feel when they are starting to give up the ghost and aren’t providing as much protection as they used to.
Prepare for the Pear—and Beyond
Running is not for everybody, but it’s something that is well worth giving a try for many folks. It might just become a lifestyle!
Either way, your best results will come from taking a controlled, measured approach to your goals. At Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, we can help you determine the best ways to get started and keep yourself going, all while keeping your risks of injury low. And if misfortune does happen, we will be here with the treatments and care that can get you back to running as quickly and as safely as possible.
We also have a guide to running with healthy feet that we’re happy to share with you for no cost!
Give our Medford office a call at (541) 776-3338 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with us.