Beware of over-training

  • Too much of a particularly tiring exercise, like running, can damage your muscles so build up your training gradually and listen to your body.
  • Leave good time between training and events for your body to fully recover and repair.
  • Sometimes a particular aspect of your training may overuse a muscle. This could be because you are not doing an exercise in the right way or it is not right for you. So get advice before you get going.

Warm up

  • Before training, prepare your body for the stresses it is about to endure by doing some gentle exercise first.
  • Wear suitable clothing for the weather. Muscles are more vulnerable to damage when they’re cold.

Cool down

  • Don’t end a training session abruptly – reduce your activity by around 50% for a short time before you finish. This helps your body to recover properly.

Stretching

  • Stretching after hard exercise helps to re-align muscle fibres. It also prevents tightness and stiffness.
  • Never stretch cold muscles as that they can tear.

Massage

  • Regular sports massage helps tissue repair, nutritional supply and quality rest.

Recovery after running events

  • Depending on your condition, a good way to recover is to take gentle runs or train gently after an event. Take the same number of days as the length of the event in kilometres. So, if you’ve run a 5k race, run gently for five days afterwards.
  • If you don’t have a high level of fitness, rest for the same period instead.
  • Generally the less fit you are, and the harder you pushed yourself, the longer the recovery period.
  • If you don’t feel like running or can’t run well, stick to non weight-bearing exercises and walking until feel ready to run again.
  • Massage within a day or two of a race helps the recovery even more.

Take more care as you get older

  • You’re more likely to injure yourself as you get older, so give yourself longer recovery periods, and more cooling down, stretching and massage.