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by Tim Hawes, Podiatrist

If you are thinking about running it is important to remember some basic rules.


You need to be strong enough and flexible enough to cope with the increased load (when you run your legs have to resist a load of 5 times your body weight!).

You need to start at a low level and build up distance and speed slowly; injury prevention is much better than injury recovery.

There are three key areas to consider during your running training:

Strong Glutes. Very important to prevent the knees and feet from rolling in.

Strong, flexible calf area. Very important in order to resist large forces and again to prevent rolling in.

Flexible hip flexors. Very important to enable the glutes to function properly.

Henry Vandyke Carter, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Henry Vandyke Carter, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Standing Calf and hip flexor stretch

Try this simple and effective stretch:

  • Adopt lunge pose with back foot facing forward and back heel on floor without discomfort.
  • Feel a comfortable stretch in the front of the hip and the calf area.
  • Bend the front knee and hip to allow the pelvis to drop down and forward, increasing the
    stretch.
  • Now contract the front leg buttock muscles to straighten the leg again.
  • Repeat x 20 with a count of 4 seconds going down and the same going up.
  • Two sets of 20 per leg.

Calf Strength for Running
This exercise will help build strength in your calf.

– Stand with the ball of both feet on a step and a tennis ball between the ankles
– Squeezing the tennis ball raise the heel up to a comfortable height.
– Still squeezing, lower the heel to a stretch position.
– 4 seconds up: 4 seconds to stay up: 4 seconds to lower heel below ball of foot, 4 secs to stretch.
– 20 reps: 2 sets.

I also recommend the couch to 5k program to safely increase your running distance and train with Michael Jordan!

If you experience pain during or after running, a podiatrist will be able to help – book your appointment online today >