We’ve heard it all before: warm up, listen to your body, build gradually. And yet, after popping on our activewear, lacing up and seeing the open road ahead, we tend to go all out—and suffer the consequences.  We chatted to APA Titled Sports Physiotherapist Lauren Shelley, who has a special interest running related injuries. Did we mention she also represented Australia for marathon running at the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships? Uh, yeah, this lady knows her stuff. She practices at Body Logic Physiotherapy and has popped together some tips to help us level up our running game, ensuring a strong, pain-free finish.

Strengthen your legs and butt

The calves, quads and glutes are super important for absorbing the impact forces of running. Lauren recommends including some bent knee calf raises, bridging exercises and single leg squats into our workout routine to strengthen the muscles that matter big-time when it comes to running. “Addressing any weaknesses can be really useful in improving your running efficiency and your body’s resilience to shock absorption-related injuries,” says Lauren.

Choose your surfaces wisely

“Ideally the surface you are running on should provide some ‘give’,” says Lauren, “so a gravel path or smooth grass surface may be the best place to start if you are prone to shock absorption problems.” She tells us we could also start by running on a treadmill as it provides some cushioning and allows a consistent running technique to be developed.  If you don’t have the luxury of grassy plains or access to a gym and are running on harder surfaces, Lauren recommends bitumen over concrete.

Get expert advice

“If you have any current injuries or niggles that are stopping you from running, or preventing you from training fully or progressing, a physiotherapist can assist by providing you with a clear diagnosis and management plan,” says Lauren. Management plans include assessing your running technique and providing specific exercises, running cues and drills to address any issues in your technique, flexibility or strength. And, as many running injuries relate to training errors, a physio can guide you in progressing your training program while minimising the risk of injury.

As with starting any new exercise program, if you have any specific individual concerns you should chat to your GP or physiotherapist. See you on a soft grassy surface. Try this soft sand workout to begin.