SAFETY TIPS ON RUNNING (Part 2)

by Guest writer – Farhan Juan M.

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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 & HealthMeals, 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

– 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:

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:

  1. Check your medical & health status
  2. Have proper meals
  3. Warm ups & stretches
  4. Awareness of the surrounding and Preparation
  5. Set realistic targets
  6. Remember R.I.C.E treatment
  7. 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!

 

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SAFETY TIPS ON RUNNING (Part 1)

by Guest writer – Farhan Juan M.

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According to the last National Sports Participation Survey, jogging is ranked the most popular sport among Singaporeans. What makes running so popular? Well, we all know how to run. My first memory of running was probably to run away from my mother when I got myself into trouble. Running is also cheap, all you need is a pair of shoes and you’re set for a fulfilling workout. We can run at any time of the day, alone or in groups, and anywhere. Singapore also has a couple of wonderful running trails, including the various parks, stadiums, gyms and even at the reservoirs (maybe not at Bedok Reservoir during the night for now)! My personal favorite running trail is at Pasir Ris Park, where I usually do my 10 kilometer jogs during late evenings to behold the beautiful sunset that awaits me there.

It is a good sport for those of you who are thinking of getting yourself in shape, but before you start running, there are some things you should do before you begin your healthy lifestyle:

1) MEDICAL & HEALTH:

If you are above 35 years old and have been leading a sedentary lifestyle for quite some time, it will be good to have a medical checkup. This is especially recommended for those who have had a history of medical or fitness problems (including asthma, diabetes, heart problems, and injuries). The doctor will be able to highlight the problems you might encounter and advise how to deal with them.

Get yourself the right pair of shoes (if you do not already have it). You should always wear the appropriate footwear for your type of foot, and the type of shoe. There are three types of foot: Normal Arch, Flat Arch and High Arch. There are also two types of shoe: Racing and training shoes. For new runners, it is advised to choose training shoes as they typically have more cushioning and have thicker outer soles. Always buy shoes that fit you comfortably.

2) MEALS 

A common mistake by new runners is that they feel the need to starve themselves before a run. This is not recommended as your body needs its fuel to run. There are three types of fuel for exercise: Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein. Consume carbohydrates as it is the most immediate source of energy for the body. It is also good to give your body at least 2 hours to digest the food that you eat before you begin running. Ensure that you keep yourself hydrated – before, during and after any physical activity.

3) WARMING UP / STRETCHING

You are almost ready to run now, but your muscles are still a little cold. A common misconception is that warming up equates to static stretching, but this can increase the likelihood of getting injuries too. What I usually do for my warm-up is either cycling/light jogging for 5 minutes before I do my stretching. You can also do some jumping jacks (50 counts of four) or light skipping. Another alternative is to do some dynamic stretching.

Now you are all set to run, I welcome you to the wonderful world of running. Let’s get those muscles pumping, the endorphins flowing, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! 🙂