by Adam Penner
As I ponder what to write for this post, it crosses my mind to include a few key ideas shared with me from some top level minds in coaching the great sport of running. i will try to connect them so they flow naturally from one to the next and follow a train of thought. Here are some abbreviated ideas.
Idea 1. Stay off the roads! Paved roads are hard packed and do not absorb impact well. This means that the force from every single step you take goes elsewhere…namely, you. Ever wonder how the Kenyans and Ethiopians can run so well with relatively few injuries? One reason is that they run on meadows, not roads or paved surfaces. Meadows provide natural cushioning for the body as the impact of the foot strikes gets absorbed by the moss/grass/dirt they run on. If the impact is not absorbed by the soft ground (ie running on a hard surface), the force must go through the body. This leads to aches and pains, tight muscles, and eventually, an injury. So get on the grass or trail and save running on the road for race day!
Idea 2. Change your shoes! Regular wear and tear on your shoes means they need replacing on occasion. Connected to Idea 1 above, if you run on pavement of any kind, the shoes get beaten up faster than they would on softer surfaces. Careful tracking of your mileage in a pair of shoes and knowing the design of the shoe and its expected life, you can make sure to keep your shoes up to date and reduce risk of injury.
Idea 3. Have a plan and know your route! Be it the heat of summer, or the cold of winter (especially here in Manitoba), knowing things like where shelter, water, and emergency help are can be important if such need arises. One step further than that, is telling someone your route, and run plan, if you choose to run alone. Or run in a group and make sure you use a buddy system or have small groups to ensure everyone is accounted for. In winter, wear reflective clothing so others can see you. In summer, make sure you hydrate enough and avoid midday runs in the high humidity if possible.