In Arizona, running season is in full swing: the temperatures are cooler, the sun is shining, and there are lots of fun training events you can do outdoors! In fact, finding 5k races and other sports-related activities around the Valley is an easy feat this time of year (see the full calendar: https://bit.ly/2kMDrR7).
Whether you’re running a 5k, a marathon, or you’re picking up leisure running for the first time, this physical activity can require a bit of preparation and training. The good news is that while the serious athletes may start training months in advance, it is never too late to prepare your body for a run.
What To Bring:
Running is a pretty low maintenance exercise; you just go out and do it, right? Wrong! While running doesn’t require the equipment and gear other sports often need (balls, bats, etc.), it still warrants strategic planning. You may want to consider wearing/bringing the following items with you on your next run:
- Quality Running Shoes – Running is all about the feet. It’s important to wear shoes that fit well and offer plenty of support to prevent injury.
- Water – Many runners choose to leave their water at home to find drinking stations (during races) or water fountains as they train. However, if you are just starting out, we encourage you to bring a water bottle! Water is key to staying hydrated to replace what you sweat out. If you plan to run a longer distance (8+ miles), you may want to bring a sports drink to replenish your body’s potassium, sodium, and electrolyte levels instead.
- Tunes – Need some motivation to get out and run? Bring your phone or iPod to listen to music! Not only will it help you stay moving, but having your phone with you can be beneficial if you encounter an emergency situation.
Before you start your training routine, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is your warm up. Get the body ready to run by performing some stretches. OSR Physical Therapists recommend doing a variety of dynamic stretches, like walking lunges, to really engage your muscles. During your run, make sure you pace yourself. If you want to run a 5k or marathon, you’ll need to work on your endurance so you can go for as long as you can. Participating in other exercises like swimming or biking may support this part of your running program. These low-impact activities can help build muscle, strength, and endurance in a way that is less stressful on the body than running.
How Physical Therapy Can Help:
At OSR Physical Therapy, we love running! Our team of sports medicine experts can help you set and reach realistic fitness goals while improving range of motion, strength, and reducing your risk of injury. If at any point, before or during your training, you feel pain, our physical therapy experts can utilize any one of our specialty services to reduce your discomfort and get you back to doing what you love.