A nice book a few years ago simply titled“Checklist” by Atul Gawande told about the importance of procedure lists. One of the most surprising checklists is the one used by airplane pilots. It is one of many lists of actions to be taken if the aircraft is going down: one of the first items says to make sure you continue to fly the plane. It sounds like a paradox, but many plane crashes have happened because pilots forgot to fly while trying to figure out what went wrong
By running you have no responsibility for anyone but yourself. You can only plummet from a very modest altitude, and the risk of fatal error is minimal. This does not mean that there are not checklists that are appropriate to consult and “check off.” This is very general and is meant to help you enjoy your run as much as possible and avoid common injuries. Like all playlists it has a chronological order, so at the beginning is what you have to do–at the beginning! Ready to tick it off?
1. Rest ☑
Running takes a lot of energy, and to get any you need to rest. Nothing could be simpler. After each workout you have to recover the energies you spent, and at the next workout you will get there recharged only if you have rested enough. Exactly: have you slept as much as you need?
2. What to eat ☑
Eating before the race? It depends on how much you run and your running habits. Some people cannot run without having eaten and some people cannot run if they have eaten. If you plan to go out for a long run, it is good to have something in your stomach or at least bring along some energy bars (find some great homemade bar recipes from Iaia here). Finally, if you want to stay light but rely on your glycogen stores, make sure you are getting them via carbohydrates at the right time distance from your workout: no need to carboload two days before your workout because by then you will have consumed all your reserves!
3. Dress right ☑
Look out the window, check the temperature, to be sure put a hand out: how should you dress today for running? The basic rule-you know it by now-is the “10-degree rule”: always remember that the temperature you feel running is the outside one +10°. If it is 22° outside when you run you feel like 32°. So if at 22° you are fine in long sleeves, when you run it will be hot, too hot. Go out less dressed and maybe feeling a little cold but know that that feeling will fade in a few minutes. Do you still have doubts? In this episode of our podcast “Fuorisoglia” we explain to you how to dress ;)
4. Use the right shoes ☑
We have written about this on several occasions: every foot has its own shoe, and the shoes a friend recommends may be perfect for him but not for you. If you don’t feel like reading here we tell you in words how to choose them. If, on the other hand, you’re buying a new pair, and understandably so, you can’t run 10 km in the store to see if they’re just right for you, here we explain what you need to pay attention to when you buy a pair and can’t try them out first, or at least not as much as you would need to (i.e., by putting some miles on them).
5. Short step ☑
You are dressed to perfection and have the perfect shoes on your feet. All that’s left is to run!
Many injuries can happen just by running, and the main ones are related to the running setting. One of the most common is due to the fact that some people tend to keep too long a stride, landing with their heel and loading their legs and, consequently, joints, hips and spine incorrectly. Take shorter and more frequent steps, that is, assume the most correct economy of the athletic gesture (that is, get the maximum result with the right use of energy).
6. Listen to your body’s signals ☑
Don’t overdo and pay close attention to the signals your body sends you. If you have aches and pains, don’t run on them and rather skip a workout or two to give your physique a chance and time to repair itself. Any neglected pathology can become much more serious if you subject the part of your body that aches to repetitive and prolonged exertion. If you want to avoid almost all injuries (excluding a car reversing and coming out of a gate whos driver haven’t seen you, an obviously unpredictable event) here are some good ideas.
7. Stretch some time after your workouts ☑
I know, we have always been used to starting a running session by stretching but only in recent years has it been realized that preceding or following with this practice a workout can do more harm than good: in fact, stretching the muscle fiber causes micro-lacerations that can worsen during running. While stretching is in fact great for improving muscle flexibility and elasticity, doing it close to a workout is not the best idea. The ideal time is 3/4 hour apart or during a day when you are not running.
8. Alternate type of training ☑
Running shouldn’t be your only workout. There are other ways to train your physique, especially by prioritizing parts of your body that you use less or not at all during running, like the core and upper trunk. Without delving into the disciplines of swimming and running-which we then cover extensively when talking about triathlon or ironman-training the core, doing plank, yoga, or other are very valid ways to change the type of training in a smart way, that is, working beyond the limits of running.
Here you are eight things to keep in mind; they are simple and different from each other. Each is about different aspects of running that yo’d better keep in mind. If you follow them all your running experience will benefit and you will have more fun in the end.