How to Run 101

Running is a good activity that you can do to maintain fitness and social distance.

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Running is a good activity that you can do to maintain fitness and social distance.

Since close contact sports like football, basketball, and baseball are off the table while social distancing is in full swing, many people are looking for a new spring activity they can do alone. As such, running is an activity that anyone can start, regardless of experience.

Getting into running is more than simply lacing up one’s shoes and heading out the door. The cornerstone of any training plan is to have a goal, a purpose to strive towards. Long-term goals mean each workout has a purpose, and is a step. The major purpose of a plan is to prevent injury, and any plan must include scheduled days of rest. Three-day cycles are particularly conducive to this concept of one day off a week, as the day off can be placed in between the two cycles. The week could be set up in many combinations.

Another important aspect of running is stretching and general health. Stretching is key to injury prevention, and falls into two distinct categories: dynamic stretching and static stretching.

Dynamic stretching is the pre-run stretching and incorporates movement into loosening up the muscles. Common dynamic stretches include forward and side lunges, leg swings, and walking toe touches. Static stretching is typically done post run to loosen muscles and prevent injury. In addition to stretching, hydration is also key to helping recovery between runs, removing lactic acid that has built up throughout the run.

One must also consider illness and injury. While running has been shown to help boost the immune system, too much high intensity work can actually do the opposite and make one more prone to illness. As with all sports, running has its fair share of particular injuries, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis. Shin splints are inflammation of the muscles and tendons surrounding the tibia, the frontal bone of the lower knee; treatment includes icing and dialing down the intensity of runs. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes; at home treatment consists of stretching, rolling, and icing. Tendonitis can occur in the knee and heel; to treat it at home, one should ice the affected joint and reduce the intensity of runs. Shoes should be replaced roughly every 500 miles to prevent injury.

Safety is key to running, especially on the roads. To ensure visibility while running, wear at least one item of bright or reflective clothing, or clothing of a color drastically different from the surrounding area. In addition, one should run on the left side of the road when using high traffic roads. When running at night, wear a reflective vest and head lamp to see where you are running, and try to avoid high traffic roads at this time.