With just days to go before the penultimate running event of the year – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011, kicks in, its about time to review and refresh our minds with some safety tips on running! 🙂 In my last article I talked about three things: Medical & Health, Meals, and Warming up/ Stretching. You can read them here: SAFETY TIPS (PART 1). Today in the part II of my safety tips on running feature, I would like to share 4 more things to take note of when you run.
AWARENESS & PREPARATION:
Being aware of the surrounding is necessary for your safety. Many of us like to listen to our iPod or <insert your mp3 player name here> while we go on our runs. While there is nothing wrong or unsafe about that per se, having the song blasting into your eardrums can make you become less aware of the things that are happening around you; for instance, a car honking or a bicycle bell ringing. Avoid running in poorly lit or secluded areas for your own safety, especially if you are running alone. Always let someone know where you are running.
In cases when you do trail running, be careful of uneven terrain and keep a lookout for dangerous animals like snakes. Wear all-terrain shoes for better support. These shoes are also able to withstand heavier damage from rough terrains; therefore lasting longer.
You should also check the weather before you start out on your run. DO NOT RUN if there is a thunderstorm, lightning, or a haze of more than 100 points.
SET REALISTIC TARGETS:
When you just started out running, it is not unusual to feel excited and expect to improve rapidly over a short period of time. There is a tendency to over-exert because of the strong determination to pursue your new-found passion in running. While the improvements can be massive at the start, it will slowly plateau as your body gets fitter. It becomes harder to improve as significantly as when you first started out. A reasonable target is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% every week.
It is also important to know when to stop. In running, there is no such thing as No Pain, No Gain. This is because you might aggravate a minor injury into a problem so serious that it can prevent you from running ever again. Make sure you rest well before and after your runs. If the injury persists after a week of rest, you should visit the doctor.
REMEMBERING R.I.C.E TREATEMENT:
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compress
E – Elevate
Most running injuries respond well to the R.I.C.E treatment. The value of REST is underrated; it is often one of the most effective ways to treat any aches or pains that you experience after a physically demanding exercise such as running. ICE the area where you feel the pain as soon as possible for 20 minutes for every 4 to 6 hours. Usually inflammation should be gone after 72 hours. COMPRESSION is done to limit swelling and provide minor relief to the pain. You can wrap the ice pack around the affected area with a bandage, but ensure that it is not too tight, and not for too long to prevent frostbite. ELEVATE the injured area above your heart, whenever possible.
Stretching a lot increases your flexibility and your range of motion. Flexible athletes have a lesser tendency of getting muscle injuries. Therefore I would like to highlight again the importance of stretching, even after your runs. Post-run stretching can help lengthen the tight muscles and will reduce the likelihood of injuries. Not to forget that it also feels very good.
To summarize ALL the safety tips for running:
- Check your medical & health status
- Have proper meals
- Warm ups & stretches
- Awareness of the surrounding and Preparation
- Set realistic targets
- Remember R.I.C.E treatment
- Stretching 🙂
Well that’s the end of my safety tips on running feature. If you all have more tips to share, do post in the comments section! Let’s help one another so that we can improve and enjoy our running experience together!