Helpful Tips to Get You to the 5K Finish Line Injury Free
Bayhealth Physical Therapist George M. Rodriguera, PT, DPT, CKTP, COMT, has treated many sports injuries in his career, so he’s willing to offer some common-sense advice for those who have decided to try running their first 5K this summer.
“Prevention is definitely best,” said Rodriguera, offering a few tips on how to get to the finish line by avoiding training injuries:
- Accessorize. “Buy the proper running shoes,” he said. That may mean getting fitted correctly at a specialty store. “Make sure the shoes fit well and are comfortable. Don’t buy just for looks,” he said.
- Train at your own fitness level. “First, you might want to walk. Then run and walk, then run. Don’t run too soon.” Rodriguera has seen how injuries can discourage new runners from pursuing their goals.
- Warm up before training; cool down after. Walking and gentle, non-ballistic (not bouncing) stretches are a good way to warm up and cool down. Rodriguera said new exercises may cause some delayed-onset muscle soreness, but not pain. If there is lingering or worsening pain during training, the runner should seek professional, medical advice, he added.
- Hydrate. Make sure to drink water before, during and after training.
- Cross training is key. “Instead of running every day, ride a bike, play another sport, or do yoga,” Rodriguera said.
- Focus on increasing time and distance, not speed. “Training at the right pace is important. You should be able to hum, sing or talk while running,” he said.
It’s best to talk to your primary care physician before starting a new fitness routine. Visit Bayhealth's Find a Physician page or call 1-866-BAY-DOCS to be matched with a physician who meets your needs.