Running or jogging is one of the most commonly performed and understood method of exercise, and as such, it comes as no surprise that a lot of injuries physios see are running-related, it’s no surprise that a lot of injuries we see in the physio office are related to running.
If you’re among the many people who take up running or are looking to increase your training regimen, we have some tips to improve your performance while keeping you injury-free.
Before your sprint off into the distance, it’s important to warm up your muscles. Dynamic stretching, in which you utilize controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.
Use this dynamic warmup to get the most out of your run. Jumping Jacks, Forward Jacks, Squat with Walkout, and Walkout with Knees to Elbows.
Manage Your Load
Whether you are new to running or an experienced runner, it is important to consider load management. If you are new to running or you've taken time off from regular running, you would want to start with a shorter run and slowly progress your way up.
Consider interval sessions, a combination of running/walking. For example, you may choose to run for 1 minute and walk for the next minute for about 15-20 minutes. Slowly progress yourself to running for 2 minutes and walking for one. A slow build-up of your running volume minimizes the risk of running-related injuries. The same applies to experienced runners, a rough guideline is to not exceed your running volume by more than 10-15% a week.
Strength training is often overlooked when running, but it is one of the most important factors for both injury prevention and performance. Research has proven this time and time again.
You should try to aim for a general strengthening program 2-3x a week. The glutes are important in running, however, it is actually your calf muscles that carry the most load when running! A good strengthening program should incorporate glute, calf, and knee strengthening.
Cool Down and Static Stretching
It’s important to end your run with some light jogging or walking to allow your body to cool down. Once you have cooled down its important to follow up with some static stretches while your muscles are warm to prevent injury, and improve flexibility.
Some static stretches to incorporate are:
1. Hip-Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your right knee, with your left foot in front of your body. Lean forward from the hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
2. Hamstring Stretch with Rope
Loop a strap around your right foot. Gently pull your leg toward the ceiling until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
3. Piriformis Stretch
Lie on your back. Bend your right leg and place the ankle in front of your left knee. Pull your left thigh toward your torso. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
4. Lower-Back Stretch
Drop your hips back until your glutes rest on your heels. Lower your chest to the floor and stretch your arms out in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds.
Physiotherapy for Runners
Whether you are an athlete, training for a marathon, or are currently suffering from a running-related injury, physiotherapy can be a great tool to increase performance. Connect with us today for a free 20 min virtual physio consult!