Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise! Unfortunately, it goes without saying that every exercise routine comes with a risk. Running increases one’s risk of sustaining injuries such as shin splints, runner’s knee, stress fractures, tendonitis, sprains, or muscle, and ligament strains or tears.
These can be quite painful and can leave you debilitated. However; with the right routines and healthcare, you should be able to avoid all these issues during your regular runs. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, here are some tips that will make your running journey as pain-free as possible!
Regular stretching is crucial to enhance and maintain flexibility, which can improve your running performance. A combination of dynamic and static stretching should be incorporated into your regular fitness regime. To optimize the benefits of stretching, static stretches should be held for a minimum of 60 seconds and should be completed slowly without bouncing or excessive movement.
There are very specific instances where stretching certain muscles can inhibit your maximum sprinting speed, but this is usually reserved for high-level athletes. Speak to your Physiotherapist today for information on which muscles you should be stretching!
Strength training enhances the body’s strength as well as athletic performance. This can help improve your power and endurance, which will help prevent muscle fatigue and injuries while running. Strength training 2-3 times per week would be advantageous for the average runner. Strength training should include core strengthening, upper and lower body exercises and should include training of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibres. Runners commonly utilize weight lifting, plyometrics, and hill running as strength training techniques.
Prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration by hydrating two hours before any routine. Drinking 500mL before exercise, followed by 250mL after warming up is generally recommended. Hydrate with 180-250 ml of fluids for every 15-20 minutes that you exercised. After two hours of exercise, hydrate using 20-24 ounces, or a pint of fluid, for each pound burned off during the routine. Be mindful of the fluids you choose to hydrate with, some energy drinks contain excess electrolytes and sugars that your body may not need!
Before going out for a run, or performing any sort of exercise - a warm-up should always be completed! Warming up properly will improve blood flow and circulation to your muscles and tissues and will help reduce your risk of injury. There are different styles of warmups that can be completed depending on what type of runner you are, speak to a Physiotherapist today for more information on what is best for you.
While you might have this new and exciting motivation to start a running/training program, it is very important that you pace yourself and build up your running endurance gradually. Starting off running too fast, or too far will overload your muscles, tissues and bones, and can cause injuries.
You should be mindful of increasing your speed or your running distance separately, not at the same time. A general guideline is to increase the intensity of your activity (either your speed or distance) by 5-10% per week. This can vary depending on your prior fitness level. A session with a physiotherapist can help you determine what your training program should look like.
Cross-training allows you to maintain fitness and avoid severe impact forces due to excessive running. Adding rest breaks in your training routine allows your body to heal and recover so you can continue with your training program.
Excess training, injuries and bad performances are sometimes due to an inefficient training schedule. An experienced physical therapist or trained coach can set a proper training routine for you so that you can reach your goals without having to deal with an injury. Pillars of Wellness can connect you with such professionals for the right scheduling.
Each running shoe is different. The shoe type you require depends on your foot type as well as running style. Any sports store that prioritizes sports footwear will help you determine which type and style may be ideal for you.
A common foot issue is “flat feet” or overpronation. Depending on the amount of pronation, the shape of your foot, and the type of running you are doing (sprinting, long-distance, etc), a different style of shoe might be required!
Poor foot biomechanics such as overpronation or excessive rigidity/flexibility of the foot arch can result in running injuries. Typically, runners will handle these issues by simply getting the correct shoe type. If you have additional issues such as low back pain, knee pain, or hip pain, orthotics are often a great way to help combat all these issues at once.
Improved running performance and body buildup are achieved by following an appropriate training program and utilizing good running form or technique. This usually involves using less energy while also delaying any muscle fatigue. A professional experienced in running biomechanics can find faults in your running form as well as guide you in how to fix them.
Pillars of Wellness is a multidisciplinary clinic in Burlington, Ontario. The clinic focuses on providing many health services like physiotherapy, chiropractic, naturopathy, yoga, holistic nutrition, and more. If you want to get your running form and training schedules evaluated for a healthy run, call now!