So the summer humidity is abating and school has started, the number of runners on the street have definitely increased. Now is the time to sign up for the 5K or even the Fall half marathon (hopefully you have already started training for that half). And it’s usually a few weeks in that runners start to get injuries including back, hip, knee, and/or ankle pain. To avoid these injuries below are some quick tips that are integral for injury prevention. If you do have pain that persists then it’s time to see your physician and be evaluated by a trusted PT.
- Get a Strong Core! A strong core will improve your body’s efficiency so that less energy is lost and your risk of injury is less.
Supine Marches: With Core braced and back flat, lift 1 knee up at a time
Plank: Brace your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold the position for 20 seconds – 1 minute
2. Do Strength Straining 2-3 times a week. Not only will strength training reduce risk of injury, it can increase your speed and is more efficient for weight loos. Areas to target are of course your core, as well as your hips. Below are some exercises that you can include in your strengthening routine
squat: Feet hip width apart, and back straight. With weight in your heels tip or bend at the hip, sticking your butt down and back.
Bridges: Drive through your heels and lift your hips by squeezing your glutes (butt cheeks).
3. Pay attention to your body. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest, if pain doesn’t fade then have it checked out. The longer you push through it the more problems you will have down the road.
4. Increase training slowly. As a PT I see plenty of weekend warriors who jump right into their chosen activity and usually end up getting injured. If you’re looking to get back into running start slow, alternating between walking and jogging, and slowly increasing distance and time.
5. Gentle Warm up Before You run: This can include a walk, or better more dynamic exercises shown below
6. Gentle Stretch After: Flexibility is important for running, especially in your hips and ankles. Here are some stretches everyone who is an avid runner or walker should be doing!
Hip Flexor Stretch: In half kneeling position, keep hips facing forward and trunk upright, lean forward, hold for at least 30 sec each side.
Hamstring Stretch: Keep leg straight and lean into knee, hold for at least 30 sec each side.
Calf Stretch: With both toes pointing forward. Keep back heel on the ground and knee straight and lunge into front leg, hold for at least 30 sec each side.