Tips To Avoid Injuries When Running.
With the weather starting to finally break, many people will start to turn to the outdoors again to exercise. Running seems to remain a popular activity among those who have been running for years and for those who want to try it for the first time. Regardless of how much you run or plan to, there are important factors to consider when starting a training program in order to decrease the risk of injuries.
1. Make sure you have good running shoes
Having adequate support on your feet is always important for everyday walking, but even more when you are going to start running. There are many running stores where you can go to get properly fitted for a shoe type that best fits your feet and your running pattern. A physical therapist is also skilled at analyzing foot structure and gait pattern and can give you advice and direction!
2. Be realistic about your goals
If you are starting to run for this first time, do not try to run too many miles in your first week. It is important to build up your endurance slowly. Jumping into a training program with high mileage too quickly is an easy way to get injured.
3. Maintain good nutrition
Physical exercise is very important but so is the food that you put in your body. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet because the food you eat affects how well you perform during exercise and how well you recover. Stay hydrated as well!
4. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is so important for our overall health and it makes a difference in our ability to prevent physical injuries. Sleep gives your body time to repair and regenerate from the day. It also allows the intervertebral discs in your back to rehydrate! Making sure you are getting consistent sleep is even more important as you start to increase your mileage.
5. Strength training
This is so important! Running is a great cardio exercise and people who love to run, often only run. But do not skip out on strength training and this includes lower body, upper body, and core. As someone who has been running for many years and has experienced injuries, I can attest to what a difference strength training makes. Even though you will often feel soreness in muscles all over your body after running, it does not mean that the activity specifically targets those muscles for strength gains. Having strength and stability is vital not only to prevent injuries, but also to improve your running performance. I have often found that when treating runners for an injury in PT, even the most elite and skilled runners often lack strength and stability that may have contributed to their injury. Physical therapists are highly skilled in exercise prescription and management of orthopedic injuries and can help you if you are struggling with this!
6. Do not just push through pain
If you do start to experience pain when running, do not keep pushing through it especially if it persists. Slow down your pace or decrease your distance. Try doing some walk/run intervals. If the pain continues to get worse, try resting. If you return to running after a prolonged period of rest and the pain still is present, it would be good to see your doctor and possibly get a referral to physical therapy. The good news is that many running related injuries can be very well managed with a good physical therapist! The locations of pain that are common in runners (not all inclusive) and not advised to ignore are low back pain, hamstring pain, anterior knee pain, and ankle/foot pain. If you are struggling with any running related pain, please call today for a FREE consultation!
By OMPT Specialists Physical Therapy