Tips on training for the Caterham Rotary Half Marathon or 10K without injury
Thursday 6 July 2017

So you’ve committed to running the Caterham Rotary Half Marathon or 10K. It may be that this is your first ever race or you’ve set your sights on beating your personal best half marathon or 10K time. We expect you will have started your training programme by now and we hope it’s going well. In this article we offer you some tips to keep you healthy and on track and help keep injuries at bay.

Ten training tips

- Wear the right shoes

If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have the correct running shoes. It’s worth popping into your local running shop and getting fitted for the right running shoes for you.

- Dress appropriately

It can get hot now summer’s officially here and you need to dress to keep cool and protect yourself. You’ll need a lightweight and preferably light coloured running top and shorts that are made from wicking fabrics to draw perspiration away from your skin and help keep you from overheating. A hat with a visor, UV-rated sunglasses and sunscreen are also recommended.

- Be seen

Wear bright coloured clothing or armbands with reflective patches to ensure you’re visible to drivers and cyclists.

- Warm up and cool down

You must warm up properly before you start running to help prevent injury. Start every run with five to ten minutes of brisk walking or gentle jogging or five minutes of each before you start. This will increase your blood flow and warm up your muscles.

You should also cool down after your run by continuing running but at a slower pace or walking for five to ten minutes. This will help your body recover after your run. If you stop abruptly you may get leg cramps, nausea, dizziness, or fainting.

- Make sure you stretch out

It’s crucial to stretch both before and after running but save deep stretches such as hand-to-toe hamstring pulls for a post-run and try more gentle stretches beforehand.

- Switch your running times and terrain

If it’s too hot at the time you would normally run, you could run early in the morning or evening when it’s cooler and less humid. You could also look at running through shaded terrain such as the woods where it’s sheltered.

- Build up slowly

Don't increase the intensity or distance of your running too quickly. It’s recommended that you do a similar run three or four times before you increase your pace or distance.

Doing too much running too soon can lead to common overuse injuries such as knee injuries, shin splints, general fatigue and burnout.

- Don’t push yourself too hard

If you push yourself too hard to run too fast and too frequently you may suffer from overuse injuries such as sprains, shin splints and stress fractures. A new runner will benefit from a run-walk program. An experienced runner should follow a challenging run with a lighter run to give their body chance to recover.

Don’t run by pace alone as a headwind can make the same run much harder. Try focussing on distance instead.

- Don’t run in pain

Don't run if you’re in pain as it may signal the beginning of an injury.  Only start running again when you've recovered sufficiently.

- Develop a training schedule to meet your running goals and prevent injury

It’s best to talk with a running expert or coach to help assess your fitness level and develop a running programme based on your running aims. This will help prevent overtraining, poor performance and running injuries.

Common running injuries

Injuries can affect any runner. Experienced runners may push themselves too hard and beginner’s muscles may not be used to running.

The five of the most common running injuries are:

Knee pain – runners knee, IT band syndrome (ITBS) Achilles pain – Achilles tendonitis Shin pain – shin splints Heel pain - plantar fasciitis Muscle strain

Diagnosis and treatment of running injuries at North Downs Hospital

If you do develop a running injury during your training or on the day we are here to help. We can diagnose your pain using the latest diagnostic equipment at North Downs Hospital or our sister hospital Ashtead Hospital. It may be that an X-ray, MRI or arthroscopy are recommended to check for damage.

Treatment will depend on your injury. Often RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is advised initially. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be offered if your pain is severe or persistent.

Our chartered physiotherapists offer a sports injury clinic to help patients recover from sprains and strains, Achilles tendonitis and shin splints. They also provide education and resources to help prevent injuries happening again.

Some injuries need surgery. Here at North Downs Hospital we have experienced orthopaedic surgeons who can deliver prompt first class care if required.

For more information or to make an appointment call 01883 348981 or contact us.

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