On Your Mark, Get Set: How to Prep Your Body for a Run

Don't overdo it!Don't overdo it!We all know how important it is for women and mothers to get regular exercise. And while trying to keep a kid with a cup full of cranberry juice off your new Berber carpet SHOULD qualify as an Olympic sport, running is a real, heart-healthy way to get in shape.

I am always happy to write about my friend Summer Sanders, and she has some particularly useful advice when it comes to running and preparing for races. Summer is blogging over at espnW about her 12 week preparation for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. In her latest post, she talks about the challenges of the mental game, but how it's important to listen to your body too, especially when it's telling you that things don't feel right. Here are a few ways we can get over injuries specific to our sport.

1. REST: It seems only logical, but there are a lot of people who will still try to get in a run even if they think they have pulled something or are in pain. The body at minimum needs time to recover. If time doesn't help, you may want to seek professional help.

2. ICE: Leave ice on an injury long enough to be effective but not so long as it is damaging. A good time is anywhere between 10 - 20 minutes. Less is not going to be effective and longer might damage tissue. Several times a day with intervals of 60 minutes should do the trick. Of course, you know your body and if the pain doesn't seem to diminish you need to walk - not run - to a doctor's office.

Related: 10 surprising benefits of taking a walk

3. COMPRESSION: You want to limit the swelling so bandaging the area loosely will help. It may also relieve some of the pressure.

4. ELEVATION: This is also helpful when reducing swelling if you get the effected area above your heart.

The above is the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method runners often use. You can also do a few other things, lke using ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce pain and swelling, hydrate with water because cramping can occur when you are dehydrated, massage the area which acts as counter pressure and moves blood from the area.

Before each run make sure you are thoroughly stretching, during the run don't over exert yourself. Use proper equipment, i.e. good shoes. Running is basically free so if you are going to do it on a constant basis you need shoes that are comfortable and meant for the job. Also, don't forget to cool down.

There…you're all set. Remember: do it…but don't overdo it. It's really hard to win that way!

Good luck!

- By Rene Syler
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