How to Safely Return to Running

It’s January, time for our footpaths to be filled with all types of runners. This month you’ll see the ‘Got new gear for gifts’ runner, ‘Forcing family fun’ runner and even the ‘Starting on the summer bod’ runner.

If you’re thinking of dusting off your running shoes to join the crowd this January you don’t want to end up the ‘One run Wonder’ and feel like a failure before you even start. Ensuring your body is ready to safely return to running is the first step in preparation, especially if you’ve had a baby since your last bout of pavement pounding.

Getting back to running too early or before you’ve prepared your body can contribute to pain, heaviness, dragging or, especially with post-natal women, incontinence. You may meet your goal of returning to running but you can put yourself at risk of injury in the future.

Safely return to running – Test if you’re ready with these 7 exercises:

⁃ Walking 30 minutes – The old saying you have to be able to walk before you can run is appropriate here. Many January enthusiasts jump straight into a sprint and fall down at the first hurdle as they are too sore to continue. If you are just starting back to exercise after your baby or from a Christmas hiatus, start with a brisk walk.

⁃ Single leg balance 10 seconds – Balance is an integral part of running with the stride jumping from one leg to the other as you move swiftly down the footpath. If you lack balance, you can end up injuring yourself with a fall or damaging your back with uneven absorption of the impact.

⁃ Single leg squat 10 repetitions on each side – This exercise will fire up your quadshamstrings, and calves which are vital to the motion of running and will also test your balance.

⁃ Jog on the spot 1 minute – Well this is a no-brainer. If you can’t do this then you need to start at a slower pace and work up to the running.

⁃ Forward bounds 10 repetitions – They may look a bit ridiculous but this exercise is an exaggerated version of the motion of running. If you can do these, you may be on the road to running.

⁃ Hop in place 10 repetitions each leg – Picture this, you’re bounding down the footpath when a child runs out in front of you or you come across where someone forgot to scoop after their dog.  You need to be able to spring to one side to avoid the collision and not tense your leg muscles or lose your balance.

⁃ Single leg ‘running man’: opposite arm and hip flexion/extension (bent knee) 10 repetitions on each side

Did you complete these exercises without pain, heaviness, dragging or, especially with post-natal women, incontinence?

Great, lace up your running shoes! You can safely return to running! Remember to listen to your body. Don’t overdo it and put yourself at risk of injury.

Did you struggle with one or more of these exercises?

You can safely return to running or doing what you love but your body needs a little bit more preparation. Our team of Physical Therapists and Reformer Pilates Instructors with over 60 years of experience combined and specialised training for Pre/Post Natal women have helped women just like you reach their goals. Get in contact for a consultation and start your journey to being the ‘I’m going to keep on running’ runner!

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