I put on a lot of weight with my pregnancies. I have been walking for the last year and I would like to start running again. I weight 102kg and I was told that I would be putting too much strain on my ankles if I started running. Is this true? I used to run before I had kids. – KATE KLEINHANS, KOKSTAD
Although walking instead of running does not guarantee that you will never get injured, the risk of injury from walking is significantly less than running. Not only injury to your ankles, but also feet, knees, hips and back. I would therefore suggest that you lose some more weight before you start running again, because the impact on your joints when walking is 1 to 1.5 times your body weight, compared to 2 to 3.5 times your body weight when running.
You can also include other forms of cardiovascular exercises like swimming and cycling to help you lose weight. Theoretically, you burn the most body fat when training at 68% to 79% of your maximum heart rate (max. heart rate is roughly 220 minus your age). Interval training (alternating high and low intensity during a session) is also very effective because the total time of training can be longer before fatigue sets in. Also consider changing your eating habits if you’re not already eating healthily.
When you’re ready, start with short intervals of jogging during a walking session, for example 4 minutes walk, 1 minute jog, and slowly build up from there. Watch out for early warning signs of an injury, like joint pain, swelling, tenderness, decreased range of motion, specific weakness, numbness or tingling.
Well done for walking the last year, keep up the effort and there should be no reason why you shouldn’t be able to run again.
Modern Athlete Expert
Sports scientist and biokineticist in private practice in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, specialising in wellness, rehabilitation of injuries, injury-prevention and sport performance.
Fear of Open Water
I have been swimming for a while and have done all my swimming in a pool. In a couple of weeks I will be tackling my first triathlon, which means I will be swimming in open water. I am a bit nervous about this as I have heard that it is so different to pool swimming. What should I expect and what can I do to prepare myself better? – NICOLE, HOUT BAY
You are right, being in open water is very different from the pool! It’s colder, darker, there is no line at the bottom and there is no side wall. Just being aware of these differences will already help you. You should also know that getting into cold water induces a physiological response in that your respiratory rate will increase rapidly as you enter the water. This response, combined with lots of other swimmers around you and possibly choppy water, can quickly develop into you feeling a bit panicky.
Ideally, you should do the following in open water before race day with other people. However, if this is not possible then do it before the start of the race. Walk into the water slowly and begin by swimming a few strokes with your head above the water. After a few strokes, put your face in the water and focus on getting your breathing and swimming rhythm. Focus on a steady, strong stroke, and keep doing this over and over until you get around the course. Practise this ability to focus on your stroke, and not other external factors, in the pool.
As this is your first race, I would also suggest that you hang back a little after the start, just walk into the water and let the racing snakes get ahead and create some space for yourself – a few seconds won’t make a big difference. Good luck!
Modern Athlete Expert
Owner/Operator: Total Immersion Swimming SA