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Another marathon, another flood of injuries, another round of warnings from medical professionals about running being bad for the knees and another year of training in the exact same way. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore—it’s the same story. There is no denying that running is a favoured activity of the urban Indian. I can add ‘middle-aged’ to that. If you are not part of a running group, you are not cool. Peer pressure, lifestyle guilt, need for a social life, and for a small minority, the love for running. Whatever your reason, now that you have decided to run, do justice to your choice.
There are two things you need to focus on to make sure you are not just a participator and to avoid injuries—strengthening and stretching. Running puts unprecedented mechanical force on your tendons, bones, ligaments and joints (TBLJ), the weak points in your body; much weaker than the heart and lungs. Weight training in the gym lets you strengthen and lubricate your joints, adds to your bone mineral density and yes, increases the capillary network in your heart, making it a stronger muscle. Make sure you follow the right technique and build up the intensity gradually.
Stretching before and after the run is a concept we all understand but often overlook. It gets the blood flow to the muscles involved in running and prepares them for their full range of motion. During training, stretching is as crucial as the run itself. Make sure you dedicate enough time and thought to that.
Change the way you will train in 2015, and remember, it’s not running that leads to injuries, it’s only running.