Now more than ever, running could be your ticket to getting the regular exercise you need to help both your physical and mental health during coronavirus.
Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.
Any coronavirus information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was first published (7 August 2020). For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus restrictions, please visit the source: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au
Maybe you’ve heard of the ‘runner’s high’, but never experienced it. Maybe you’re not sure how to start, or you’ve been put off by bad experiences in the past.
Whatever your circumstances, one thing’s for sure: running is a free, local and mood-boosting way to get the exercise you need to feel healthy and well during the pandemic.
That's why we spoke to a professional running coach to get some key tips to help get you running during the pandemic, without getting injured.
Running tips from a professional running coach: learn or improve how you run for maximum enjoyment
This video is great for running newbies, as well as regular runners who want to brush up on their form.
Four key tips from a professional running coach: how to run without getting injured (watch the video for details)
1. Walking is not failure
Adding in walk breaks is something even elite runners do. If you’ve never heard of ‘Fartlek’ before – switching between walking and running during your run – it can be a runner’s best friend.
2. Progression is key
Think about a car with gears. Just as a car has gears, you too can gradually move through gears – walking, running slowly, running a bit faster, then walking again. Just as most cars don't start in fifth gear, our bodies prefer to start slowly before running at full pace.
3. Warm ups are worth it
Your body always appreciates warming up. Learn the three key parts of warming up for a run to keep your body injury-free!
a. Moving through your range of motion in your hips, legs, upper body and arms
Move through the range of motion you will use when you run. Swinging your legs forward and back and your arms side to side is a simple and effective way to start your warm up (yes, your upper body and arms are really important for running!).
b. Muscle activation (wake them up)
If you do some moves to wake up or ‘activate’ your muscles before you start your run, your body will remember to activate them during your run. This stops you from running with your joints (instead of your muscles) and injuring yourself. Doing three to four squats, side lunges and regular lunges will activate the muscles you use when you run.
c. Running drills (skipping and walking)
If you thought skipping was just for kids, you’d be mistaken. Skipping is a great way to get warmed up before a run, along with walking on your tippy toes and doing the grapevine. There’s even a running drill that the running coach tells us is fondly known by some as ‘the minister for silly walks’ (hopping from foot to foot and kicking your legs out in front of you as you go – featured in the video). Who said running had to be serious?
See all of these warm ups demonstrated by a professional running coach in the video above.
4. Wear a mask to and from your run
Remember, during the coronavirus restrictions you need to wear a mask to and from the start of your run.
Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to running. So whether you start by simply going out and doing some warm up drills, or trying ‘Fartlek’ walk/run combinations, even if you just run for five minutes – you can still call yourself a runner. It’s all about having a go. You won’t be the only one as new research suggests that coronavirus may have made exercise more popular than TV!
Want to try exercising in other ways? Check out our other at-home exercise videos created for our This Girl Can – Victoria campaign.
Have a coronavirus question?
For all coronavirus questions visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hotline on 1800 020 080.