4 strategies to make your new year’s running resolutions stick
with Doug James, intraining Physiotherapist, Podiatrist and marathoner.
The New Year is a time when many people make resolutions.
For a lot of people, these involve changes to diet or physical activity levels – and with good reason. In high-income countries (such as Australia), diet and physical activity factors account for 7 out of the top 10 risk factors for causes of death as listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (1).
The WHO recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. As runners, it is likely that we are already meeting these guidelines, but is it possible that we could do better?
Here are 4 strategies that can support your New Year’s Running Resolutions and make 2020 your best running year yet. In 2020…
1. Get stronger!
In addition to the above physical activity guidelines, the WHO also recommends that “muscle-strengthening activities involving major muscle groups (are performed) on 2 or more days a week”. While this serves to improve muscle strength, bone mineral density and risk of falls, this can also have a major benefit for running performance and reduction in risk of many running-related injuries. For specific advice on strengthening exercises to help treat (or hopefully avoid) injury see Doug James (Podiatrist and Physiotherapist) at the intraining running injury clinic for a strength and conditioning plan.
Studies have shown that injury risk increases significantly in people that don’t get at least 7 hours sleep the night before. Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, but as with anything important, making it a priority makes a difference. Adopting a nightly routine where you ‘wind down’ can help make the process easier, as does avoiding blue light from screens on TV, phones and laptops before bedtime.
3. Recover right!
Just as poor sleep can increase your risk of injury, training too hard too often is a ticking time bomb. Too much high-intensity running can have a negative effect on your fitness, and you may find yourself actually getting slower due to counterproductive effects on the central nervous system. You’re also at a higher risk of muscle injuries and may end up getting sick from a compromised immune system – none of which are conducive to good running. Recovery is an important part of gaining improvement with running. Recovery encompasses a number of areas beyond training, such as rest, massage (including foam rolling) and nutrition. What and when you eat has a huge impact on your recovery and training. To discuss your nutrition needs and how to optimise your eating for running and recovery, see Liz Lovering (Sports Dietician and Nutritionist) at intraining for a personalised plan.
4. Replace shoes regularly!
Running in worn-out shoes is a recipe for injury, however, because shoes wear out at such a gradual rate, you may not notice the change from one day to the next. Then one day you suddenly realise that your shoes are worn out and your feet are hurting. Keeping track of your running mileage (and keeping in mind any walking and cross-training wear) is important. This can be done automatically in Strava or other GPS apps such as Garmin Connect. Alternatively, some athletes keep the shoe box and keep a tally of each run distance on the side (but who has time for that?!).
A high mileage running shoe (e.g. Brooks Ghost, Asics Kayano etc) should ideally be replaced after around 600km of running, though this will vary on the individual. Having a second pair of running shoes can help to prolong the life of the first pair and make it easier to tell when the first pair has worn out (and it’s not usually possible just to look at the sole). Ideally, start using a second pair of shoes about halfway through the life cycle of the first so you can seamlessly transition the older shoe out of rotation while you have a worn-in shoe ready.
If you haven’t been personally assessed and fitted for a pair of shoes before, or it has been a few years, it is worthwhile seeing a running podiatrist for an assessment and fitting as shoe models (and your feet) change over time. The Podiatry team at intraining have 20+ years’ experience each in footwear fitting and have access to a great range of the latest model running shoes in our spacious Toowong showroom where you can actually run in the shoes before you buy them.
Early in the season you should pick your goal events for 2020 and plan your training cycles around this. As the old saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, and every runner should be equipped with a decent running plan that has periodised training blocks based around key events. Even if you run with a training group, you should have an idea of what your long run and total weekly mileage is and be mindful not to increase (or decrease) too dramatically each week.
Training needs to be specific to your goal – this includes consideration of training distance, speed and terrain. Whether your goal is to run 5km continuously for the first time or run a multi-day ultramarathon event, a tailored training plan gives you direction, makes you accountable and can help you to stay injury-free to achieve them. Podiatrists and running coaches Steve and Margot Manning, and their intraining coaching team can help you design a personal plan or join intraining’s Runners School.
Whatever your New Year’s fitness resolutions and running goals are for 2020, the team from intraining are here to help.
Contact the clinic today on (07) 3367 3088 or email [email protected] for an appointment to get your New Year off to a great start.
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Doug James is intraining’s Physiotherapist and podiatrist. He is a qualified physiotherapist and podiatrist with a special interest in running and sports injuries. He combines the two treatment approaches to achieve successful outcomes for clients of all abilities from non-athletes through to elite athletes. Bachelor of Podiatry (honours), Master of Physiotherapy Studies. Doug has undertaken further training in dry needling, Pilates, and Rocktape and may incorporate these as necessary during treatment. Doug is also a keen runner having completed the New York Marathon.
 Global Health Risks. World Health Organisation – Retrieved 15th of December 2019 from https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
 Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. World Health Organisation – Retrieved 15th of December 2019 from https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/