Well, almost anyway. If you’re crazy brave enough to run out-of-doors you’ll notice the number of people joining you has increased. Maybe it’s just 5 others running along the canal instead of 1, but there’s no doubt the slight rise in temperature means running season is just around the corner.
Most people take to spring running to help shed the pounds gained from a winter of hibernating, but there are a multitude of other benefits. Increased cardiovascular health, decreased stress, increased energy, prevention of bone/muscle loss and the increased ability to survive during a zombie apocalypse are just a few. Oh, and stomping your time from last year’s Ottawa Race Weekend is a good reason to lace up the trainers sooner rather than later. So let’s get to it, shall we?
No matter if your past running experience is 20 marathons or 20 minutes, the best thing you can do for yourself now is to START SLOW. After 4 months of sitting around (conveniently the span of the worst parts of an Ottawa winter), you’ve lost enough endurance to merit starting out at a beginner level. Don’t think all that snowboarding counts either – running is a different ball game, using different muscles in different ways. Your lungs and heart might be in good shape, but we want to keep your joints and tendons like that too.
So how do you start running slowly? Try 20 to 30 minutes at low intensity, two or three times a week. Low intensity is different for everyone, so listen to your body. Once you’ve got 30 minutes down no problem, start increasing the time in 5 minute intervals, or increasing the intensity by about 5%. It might seem slow, but d’you know what else is slow? An injured runner.
Will starting slowly guarantee you won’t be injured? Unfortunately not, but it’s a great place to start. Another great way to detour around injury town is to partake in a running evaluation. Performed at any of our three clinics, it’s spread over two sessions. The first is a clinical evaluation, which delves into your previous running/injury history, takes a good look at your current level/goals, and identifies any physical factors that may impact your running biomechanics.
The second session is a running evaluation, where your technique is assessed on an outdoor track. Based on your movement patterns, recommendations are made to make you the best runner you can be, while minimizing injury. If this is the year you want to have your fastest time, the detailed training plan we’ll provide will certainly get you there. This isn’t a generic week-to-week program! Running is a highly technical sport and a personalized plan will definitely help bring out your best.