Have you deal with knee, ankle, hip, or low back pain while running? It can be an incredibly difficult hurdle to get over if you are a runner. Spring is finally starting to show its face here in Wisconsin and while the temperatures rise, it is only natural for us to get out our running shoes and start getting back into shape for summer in a few short weeks. However, after hiding out in our homes and only using a treadmill, elliptical, or nothing at all, it is normal for us to have some aches and pains after regaining our activities. So here is a quick overlook at some different things you can do to stay healthy while running and reduce the risk of an injury derailing your training!
1) GET YOUR BODY READY
This should be a no-brainer but sometimes people are very bad at listening to what their body is telling them. Runners have such a passion for their training that they will often train through pain in order to keep up with their goals for their next race. Make sure that if you have any issues that are affecting your training, whether it is a prior injury or a new one, that you consult with a medical professional to address these issues before they become something serious. Athletes are amazing at compensating in order to complete their task and sometimes this can lead to poor or altered mechanics that can result in longer recovery time and really hinder training.
2) CHECK YOUR KICKS
If you are have been training in the same running shoes that you ran a few hundred miles in last year, you should look to upgrade. Just like anything else, as time goes on our shoes get worn based on your gait. For example, if you tend to run on the outside of your shoe, that part will wear faster than the inside which can lead to a change in your foot mechanics. A general recommendation is that you should be rotating your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Your feet will thank you for it.
3) PACE YOURSELF
Just because you trained for that 10K you ran last October does not mean that you’re ready to pick up where you left off . By gradually increasing your intensity, duration, or distance of your runs, you will be able to keep yourself on track to reach your goals while decreasing the risk of causing an injury from overstressing the muscles and joints of the body. While increasing difficulty is one way for improving performance, it should not be pushed to such a limit and with a frequency that you do not give your body a chance to adapt to that stress.
4) MIX IT UP
There is a common misconception that the best way to improve your running performance is to run more. Actually, doing cross training can be extremely beneficial for improving your times and reduce injury risk. This could include strength training, sprinting, swimming, Crossfit, and many more! Giving your body different kinds of physical stimuli can translate over to other activities. Also, the stronger and more resilient a muscle is, the lower the risk of it being injured from repetitive stress!
5) RECOVER, RECOVER AGAIN, RECOVER SOME MORE
The ability to recover from training is as, if not more, important than the training itself. It goes without saying that a proper diet, hydration, sleep, and rest days are a necessity for any training program. Working in a few recovery weeks into your program with lower mileage can also be a very effective tool. Along with you own recovery strategies, make sure that your whole medical and support team are also involved! Having as many resources as possible to assist in the recovery and rehabilitation process can help be the difference between crossing the finish line or fizzling out.
BONUS TIP: KEEP RECOVERING.
Remember, this post is meant to act as an educational tool show you some options are for improving your training. Before beginning training for any activity, consult a medical professional to ensure you are not at an increased risk of injury before you start. If you would like more information on improving your performance or are looking to get back to activity but are held back by an old injury, please feel free to contact us at goodyearhealth.com and see if we can help out! HAPPY TRAILS!
Hübscher, Markus, Astrid Zech, Klaus Pfeifer, Frank Hänsel, Lutz Vogt, and Winfried Banzer. “Neuromuscular Training for Sports Injury Prevention.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 42.3 (2010): 413-21. Web.
Faigenbaum, A. D., and G. D. Myer. “Resistance Training among Young Athletes: Safety, Efficacy and Injury Prevention Effects.” British Journal of Sports Medicine. British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, 01 Jan. 2010. Web. 02 May 2017.
“Running Shoe FAQ.” Runner’s World. N.p., 26 May 2015. Web. 02 May 2017.
Dr. Michael Giammarco earned his Doctor of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis, MN and a BS in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Along with his background as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, he combines exercise rehabilitation and manual therapy to get his patients back to the activities they love. He has a passion for working with athletes of all disciplines and skill levels. Currently, he provides care for the Milwaukee Wave Professional Indoor Soccer team and University of Milwaukee Athletics along with other Goodyear Health Center practitioners.