With the weather getting nicer you’ll be seeing much more people out and about walking, running, and biking. Spring is a great time to take up any of these activities, especially running.
Many of us runners look forward to the first spring run with the warmth of the sun and longer hours of sunlight for that evening run. If you’re just thinking about taking up running or have been running for a while and just looking forward to the spring and summer season here are some helpful tips to keep you healthy and injury free.
Not just any tennis shoe will cut it for a runner. To find a proper running shoe it is wise to head to the nearest running store, (some local ones in the metro Detroit area include Hanson’s Running shop, Running Fit, or Running Gear). Here you can get a trained salesperson to look at your foot and evaluate what type of support and shoe might be best for you. Shoes are vital in a person’s running program. They provide important stability and cushioning for higher mileage and different types of surfaces from pavement to trails. Also, track your weekly mileage to know when to replace your shoes. Shoes should be replaced after about 400 miles. Look at the wearing on the bottom of your shoes if you are unsure how long you’ve had your shoes. If the treads are significantly worn down, it’s probably time for new shoes.
Making Time for Rest or Recovery Days
A big mistake runners make, especially in the beginning is running 7 days per week. This can quickly and commonly lead to overuse injuries. It is important to plan at least one day per week of rest day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do other cross training type activities, like swimming, biking, yoga, or weight lifting. This allows one a day for your body to rest from the constant repetitive motion of running and challenge your muscles in a different way.
Start a Stretching Routine
Running taxes the body’s muscles, in particular those of the hips, knees, and ankles. And it is very important to engage in stretching routine on a weekly basis to improve mobility and flexibility of these muscles. Maintaining good flexibility as a runner can be difficult but is very important in decreasing injury and improving performance. And it doesn’t have to be all that time consuming. Add 15-20 minutes of stretching a couple times per week and you’ll gradually notice a difference in your flexibility and possibly improvement in performance.
Strength or Weight Training
It is very easy to ignore supplemental work such as weight lifting, or you just don’t know where to start. Strength training is a great way to keep active on your recovery/rest days as well as build muscle to enhance your running. Both lower body and upper body, and core strength training greatly can improve your ability to tackle differences in terrain on your run as well as being a big part of injury prevention.
Getting Enough Sleep
We all know how important sleep is for overall health and wellness, but just as important in improving your running performance. Sleep is the time when your muscles recover and rebuild and not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night can really affect your energy levels and ability to recover after each run. If you start to get good, quality and adequate sleep you may notice a big change in performance in your training.
If you have any questions or further guidance in any of these topics please contact us Neil King Physical Therapy at any of our nine clinics.
Neil King Physical Therapy