courir sans risques

Five tips for injury-free running

Consult your doctor

While it's certainly not necessary to take a battery of medical tests before your first run of any kind, it is however a good idea to consult your GP before embarking on a regular training program that may lead to racing or running against the clock.

When visiting your doctor (who may perform an electrocardiogram as part of the check-up), you should request a "medical certificate of non-contraindication for taking part in running competitions". You will be required to present this certificate when signing up for competitive running events.


Make sure you use good quality gear

while running is not an expensive sport, it's important to use good quality gear. As you've no doubt heard before, Running with old tennis shoes, such as ones previously worn while playing tennis, is not a good idea !

Don't hesitate to seek advice when purchasing a new pair. There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration when making your purchase, especially the distances you intend to run during training and in competitive events. Visiting a podiatrist, who can perform a static and dynamic assessment, will help determine whether you should use insoles or not.

Need help from a pro ? Stéphane Diagana helps you choose your running shoes.


Listen to your body as you start out

When getting started with your first runs, it's natural to feel overwhelmed with the vastness of the distances to be run. The thought of running for 30 minutes or a full hour seems like a Herculean task.

But the most important thing—more than the time spent running—is to enjoy the sensation of being in motion. If your stopwatch is making you nervous, turn it off and just run for as long as you feel like running. Alternating between slow running and fast walking can help you extend your running times without becoming discouraged or suffering from too much fatigue. There is however one important rule: don't cancel your scheduled runs without an excellent reason! (Three times a week is a good start.) Regularity is a measure of your progress.


Increase the distances run slowly and steadily

All the studies carried out in recent years have confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that increasing your total weekly distance run too quickly can lead to injuries.

Increasing the length of your runs in stages will allow your body to adjust to the added demands. Specifically, it is advisable not to increase the distance run by more than 10-15% a week. This may seem somewhat restrictive, but it will help to limit or eliminate the risk of minor or major injuries.


Set ambitious but realistic goals

When just starting out with running, or while still in the early stages, it's unrealistic to expect that you'll quickly be able to take part in a marathon or long-distance trail event. It's better to initially limit yourself to competitive events that are at your level. Competing in several 10K runs will help you adjust and get a feel for racing before "graduating" to the next step—the half-marathon.

For those who enjoy running in nature—such as trail running—it's also important to steadily acclimatise your body to runs that are longer and more difficult (which have some incline) before signing up for one of the more challenging competitive events. Your objectives should be reasonable while at the same time not so low that they stifle your ambition to run faster and further.

It's a good idea to join up with others as often as possible—whether it be a group of friends or a training structure matching your level—and thus enjoy the joys of shared running experiences.