Whether you’re walking or running in the Marathon this weekend or you have plans to work towards one,we have some simple tips that will help you prevent injury, alleviate pain and keep you moving!

Running and walking are both great ways to keep fit and stay active.If you are new to running, or you’ve just started a walking program make sure to always include a good warm up, and cool down stretches to help you prevent an injury.

If you’ve never run before:

Walking is an excellent way to develop the fitness you need to start running comfortably, without getting hurt. Walking puts your legs and arms through the same general range of motion as running, but without the same impact on your bones and joints. The walk should be brisk, not a race walk, and a not window shopping pace either, somewhere in between is best.

Start off slowly and build up your strength:

Following a graduated program will help you build your body’s tolerance to the stresses of a new exercise regime, especially if you are recovering from an injury or you are new to walking or running. Too much too soon can cause re-injury,or a new injuries and unnecessary soreness.
Begin with a 15 minute walk. Did it feel good? The next day, if you fared well and you’re feeling strong do it again. The following week add 10 minutes to your time and work your way up incrementally that way.

Lets talk footwear:

Proper footwear is essential for walkers and runners. Resist the temptation to just wear any old tennis shoe. Make sure to purchase your shoes at a reputable running store, where they will make you try on various styles and work with you to find the best fit for your needs. The proper shoe can help maximize your efficiency and minimize your risk of injury.

Good technique:

Good technique will help your runs feel less tiring, reduce your risk of injury and ultimately be more enjoyable.
Try and avoid striking the ground with your heel or forefoot first.Landing in the middle of the foot is the safest way to land for recreational runners.Your foot should land below your hips, not right in front of you.

Walkers and runners are prone to overuse injuries:

These are often due to imbalances in strength and flexibility that you can correct through therapeutic exercises. Your physiotherapist can create a program with your specific needs in mind, to help you reach your goals.

A common running injury,and what to do for it:

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is very common among runners. The stress of running can cause irritation where the kneecap (patella) rests on the thighbone. While bio mechanical issues my be to blame,the cause can often be traced back to poorly conditioned quadriceps and tight hamstrings. Weak quads aren’t able to support the patella,leading it to track out of alignment,and inflexible hamstrings can put pressure on the knee. Adding strengthening and stretching to your routine can prevent a bout of with runners knee. The three step quad exercise below is a good place to start.It works the muscles in the front,inside and outer thigh.Do 10 reps of each on both sides.

Quad strengthener:

Front thigh: Lie on your back with or without an ankle weight on your right leg. Fully extend that leg and keep the knee straight. Keeping your foot relaxed and in a neutral position,lift your leg straight up towards your head as far as you can go. Your goal is to position your leg perpendicular to your body. Return to the start position

Inner thigh: Do the same exercise,but this time turn out your right leg (toes pointing away from the mid-line of the body) to target your inner thigh muscles.

Outer thigh: Repeat the same exercise again with your right leg turned in (toes pointed inward toward the mid-line of the body) to isolate the muscles of your outer thigh