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Use these five tips for heavier runners to stay consistent and keep pounding the pavement without getting hurt:
1. TRY A RUN/WALK PROGRAM
If you are concerned with getting fit without getting injured, a run/walk program can be a great way to burn calories and increase mileage slowly. Walk at a brisk pace for 10–15 minutes. Alternate running for 30 seconds with walking for 30 seconds for 15 minutes. Cool down with a 5-minute walk.
As your fitness improves, you can increase the duration of the running portion of the workout, running for 1 to 2 minutes, while keeping your walk breaks to around 30 seconds. Continue to increase the run portion of this program for a minute at a time until you can run for about 20 minutes without a break.
A big part of staying injury-free is increasing your running distance slowly. While this might seem counter-productive for bigger runners whose goal is to lose weight, if you increase your mileage by more than 10% per week the risk of injury rises. That is why it is important to mix up your runs with other activities like cycling, swimming and using the stair-climber or rowing machine at the gym. These activities are all low impact and will not put the same stress on your joints as running does. They will also improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn plenty of calories until you are ready to increase your mileage and the number of days per week you run.
3. DO NOT NEGLECT RECOVERY
The key to losing weight and becoming a trim, fit runner is staying consistent. If you neglect recovery, you will not be able to run as often, and you will find it more difficult to reach your fitness goals.
After each workout, get in the habit of a recovery routine that includes the following:
● Ice: Minor aches and pains can be part of the process. While your body gets used to the stress of running, ice your knees, ankles, back or any other parts of your body that are sore or aching for 20 to 30 minutes.
● Stretch: Stretching after you run can improve mobility and may help your muscles feel less tight and sore the day after your workout.
● Rest: Throughout your week, include 1–2 rest days for your body to recover.
● Nutrition: Eating a nutritious meal immediately following your workout helps you recover faster, gain muscle and lose fat.
4. BUY THE RIGHT RUNNING SHOES
In general, heavier runners should choose a running shoe with a midsole that is on the firm side. Denser midsoles made with polyurethane or EVA material provide more cushion on impact for your joints and last longer than lighter materials. To prevent injury, it is also important to choose a shoe according to your individual needs. Foot mobility, arch and foot strike all play a factor in which shoe is ideal for you. If you have not had a gait analysis, it is a good idea to head to a specialty running store where you can have your foot strike observed on a treadmill. You can also get to try on several pairs of shoes to determine which option fits you best. It is also important for heavy runners to monitor shoe wear and replace old shoes with new ones around the 700 to 800 kilometres mark.
5. GET THE RIGHT GEAR
Just like any other sport, the right gear can make your overall experience more enjoyable and in some cases, prevent injury. In addition to paying close attention to your shoes, here are a few other items that can help out on the road. Compression tights give you added support, reduce soreness and help prevent swelling in the arms and legs. Look for running-specific clothing that is comfortable and made from fabric that wicks away moisture to prevent excessive sweat from becoming an issue.