From walking to running

How should I prepare for running without overexerting or hurting myself?

ATHLETES RUN outside the Old City during the eighth International Jerusalem Marathon, April 2018 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
ATHLETES RUN outside the Old City during the eighth International Jerusalem Marathon, April 2018
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
I am a 32-year old man who used to be overweight. Over a period of six months, I lost 10 kilos from walking regularly, and now I feel confident enough of my body to want to start to run. How should I prepare for running without overexerting or hurting myself? A.L., Mevaseret Zion
Fitness trainer Bar Keren replies:
It is fine that you began by walking, because you should start running by gradually turning your walk into a run. That will make it possible to run soon for 30 minutes a day or more. A regular habit is not built in one day. You can run on your own, but the best way is to build a regular training routine is by joining a running or fitness team. You will also get a gradual training program adapted to your level and learn to persevere.
Make sure that what you’re wearing is comfortable for running, both your running suit and your sports shoes, which should be suited to the type of activity. There are shoes suitable for walking, others for running or playing basketball. Don’t let the brand or color be the main consideration in choosing the shoe. Make sure the shoes suit your feet well. Insoles can help minimize the risk of running injuries caused by various biomechanical problems and provide a support base that contributes to faster and more efficient running.
It is also recommended that you buy a good pulserate monitor.
It is important to carry out strength training with an emphasis on the lower body, the abdomen and back, as muscle mass is needed to improve your running performance.
This will also prevent injuries because the muscles will absorb the shocks first and only then the bones and joints.
Boredom may be the greatest enemy of runners. If you have a tendency to get bored quickly, vary your route as much as you can. Take a walk in along the beach, in the park, with the dog, with your partner, at sunset, at sunrise.
This can create stimuli and excitement every time.
Remember that physical ability and body structure vary from person to person. Never compare yourself to someone next to you – only to yourself and to your performance a day earlier. Set personal goals and conquer them. Reach your maximum. Studies show that the combination of music and sports not only enhances enjoyment but improves results. You can also create synchronization between the music tempo and your workout rate. Music can also distract you from fatigue.
The food you choose to eat before exercise, as well as the timing of eating, will affect your performance, strength and endurance. About four hours before running, eat a meal consisting of 70% complex carbohydrates, 15% protein and 15% fat. About half an hour before training, have some dried fruit like dates for immediate energy. After running, eat protein and complex carbohydrates. Always drink plenty of water before the run and afterward.
I am a 62-year-old woman who has localized osteoarthrosis of the legs and hallux valgus [a bunion, a medial deviation of the first metatarsal and lateral deviation of the big toe; the condition can lead to painful motion of the joint and difficulty wearing regular shoes].
Otherwise I am healthy. I had a CT scan two years ago, but since then, the pain in my legs has gotten worse. I would like to know whether the new treatment using PRP platelet-rich plasma injections is good for treating erosion of the cartilage from osteoarthritis. What is the treatment? Are there risks? Has it been proven to improve the situation or only to prevent a decline? Can cartilage that was eroded be rebuilt? H.C., Petah Tikva
Dr. Shmuel Weiss, head of the ankle and foot unit at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, comments:
You complain about two problems – arthritis in the foot and hallux valgus.
The latter, if it really bothers you, can be repaired with foot surgery, but not with PRP, which is platelet-rich plasma. PRP injections are given for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions involving soft tissues. They are relatively safe and can potentially speed up the healing process of damaged soft tissue, but not the joints.
With regard to arthritis, there is no reference in the literature to benefits from injecting PRP into the joints.
Rather, it is used for injecting into soft tissues. Some doctors inject it into the ankle, but I am not sure this is effective. More often steroids are injected, but some doctors are not happy about injecting it into the joints of the foot. In any case, steroids can be injected for a while until pain is relieved and then hyaluronic acid for six months to a year.
Hadassah University Medical Center orthopedist Dr. Leonid Kandel adds: PRP treatment is given for pain in soft tissues but not for loss of cartilage. Anyone who claims it will restore cartilage is a charlatan. The best treatment for knee pain includes losing weight, using an exercise bicycle or elliptical machine and physical therapy that does not put a load on the foot.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or email it to jsiegel@, giving your initials, age and place of residence.