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Adrian     Running for a cause

With so many worthwhile causes to choose from, people are lacing up their running shoes to show support for charity events across the city this summer.

I can tell you that deciding to run my first half-marathon in April without training left me in pain for a week. I experienced muscle soreness and endured blisters for most of the 2 hours and 17 minutes it took me to complete the 21 km race. Although I have a good level of fitness from other sports and training, it does not replace the proper instruction and preparation needed to run a race.

By setting aside enough time to prepare between now and the big day, you can prevent injuries, improve your performance and, most important, enjoy the experience of supporting your cause.


If you are experiencing pain or discomfort after your workout, modify your training program and remember the RICE principle. Rest the injured limb, apply Ice for 10 minutes as often as every hour for the next 48 hours, apply Compression with a tensor to decrease swelling and Elevate the limb above the level of the heart when lying down. If your pain persists and is affecting your training, work or movement, find a physiotherapist.

Warm Up

Before you start your run, it is important to perform a dynamic warm-up. Begin by taking a three to five-minute brisk walk or light jog to increase circulation to your muscles and to increase your heart rate. To prepare your body for running, dynamic flexibility exercises such as lunges, high knees and skipping take your limbs through their full, natural and functional range of motion. These types of exercises should be done before your actual race or running workout – and by doing so, can decrease muscle tension.

Running Workout

Start slowly and increase the distance and speed of your runs in increments each week. As a beginner, try the run/walk method – where you run for two minutes, walk for one – and gradually increase your run time as your endurance improves. Avoid hard surfaces, uneven terrain and hills early on in your training to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Choose your running surface carefully and make sure to change your route regularly.

Be mindful of your posture during your run. To maximize efficiency, your head, shoulders and hips should be aligned. Let your arms swing naturally as you run with your head up.

Rest days are just as important as training days, as it allows your muscles time to recover. Run three times a week with rest days in between or do cross training where you focus on other aspects of fitness such as balance, strength and flexibility.

Cool Down

Following your run, it is important to do a cool down to decrease your heart rate and to relax your muscles. Take a five to 10 minute walk followed by slow and controlled stretches. Breathe regularly as you hold each position for 20 to 30 seconds, and repeat each stretch two or three times on the opposite side. Stretch your muscles until you feel mild tension and focus on stretching the calf, thigh, groin, buttocks, hip flexors, outside of the thigh, and back.

Running and walking not only decreases stress, but is a fun way to improve your mobility and endurance. There are many local running groups and stores in Winnipeg that can help you plan a training program based on your experience level, goal distance and time. In future articles I will spend time discussing proper footwear, common running injuries and how to prevent or treat them.

In the meantime, whatever cause you choose to support this summer, always remember to practice safe running techniques and have fun doing it.


Adrian Salonga is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Rehabilitation in Physical Therapy. Please send your questions regarding mobility, health promotion or injury prevention to

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