START RUNNING HEALTHY
The weather is shifting and you're thinking about running, aren't you?
Sure, you could just throw on some random sneakers and go. Bang out a few miles. What could go wrong?Maybe nothing, but chances are something could go wrong so let's get ahead of it. Prior to quarantine life, specifically in the last year, I had many of my friends asking for help after they went from not running to throwing in a 3-5 mile run. The overnight coach to 5K. The most common problem? Calf/Achilles issues and painful hips + knees. With my hands-on skills as a physical therapist, dry needling and knowledge of corrective exercises and mobility, I whipped them back into shape in no time. Some of them are even running on the regular these days and they are pain-free. YAY!
I’m here to share a few nuggets of wisdom to help you prepare for your future as a runner.
The goal here is to give you a few tips on how to prepare your body to absorb the impact of running and help you recover. Running is good for your mind, body, and soul. However, if you are not used to a high impact activity, a little prep goes a long way.
All you need is a foam roller (or a one little Nalgene bottle) and a band (and old bike inner tube can work in a pinch)…
Calf Release - 2 min each leg
Shin Release - 2 min each leg
Kneeling Ankle Stretch 30 sec x 3 each leg
Calf Stretch (on ½ foam roller, rolled-up yoga mat, towel...anything) 30 sec x 3 each leg
Calf Raise + Eccentric Calf Strength - these can + should be done off a step for the full
range of motion. 10-20x based on fatigue.
Hip Mobility :
Hip Openers 3-5x each side
Pelvis + Glute stability:
Cross Body Core 10-20x each side
Side Plank - can also be done on knees - 30 sec x 3 each side
Single-Leg Bridge 10-20x
Monster Walk - 3-5 min
Banded Jumps - 15x
Now that you have got your body mobilized and stabilized, it’s time to figure out exactly how much you should run. Great (+ necessary) question. Whether you’re new to the sport or recovery from an injury, there is a pretty good formula to follow:
30 sec on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10. Sure, that’s not a very long amount of time, but maybe you start off a 2-3 mile walk that way as a way to get some time on your feet with light, but not high impact. Exposing your body to light weight-bearing activities, like walking or hiking, is a great buffer for running.
Take your time with these progressions and make the time to do your recovery mobility + strength.
1 min on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10
2 min on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10
3 min on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10
4 min on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10
5 min on, 1 min off x 5 and work up to x 10
…. Continue until you are up to 10 min x 5
…. And then you are free to fly, er, run!
Start with a few miles and see how it goes.
Good luck out there.