Here at Rebound, we all know when spring hits because we start seeing a lot of runners with injuries. There are a number of reasons for this, but most likely due to training for races in the spring/early summer as they begin increasing mileage. The list of injuries which can arise include a wide spectrum: achilles pain, knee tendinitis, hip strain, the list goes on and on. And surprisingly, the majority of these injuries are preventable! So, today we are going to just focus on a couple key components for injury prevention as you amp your training for spring and summer races ahead.
1) Check your shoes. If your shoes from last season have >300-400 miles on them then look into a new pair. If you’re not quite sure what would be the best pair of running shoes for you then take advantage of our consult program and we can give you some direction on the best shoe options for your specific feet and gait pattern. It is important to have running shoes with a good heel counter and a general arch support. It is also very helpful to pay attention to the wear pattern on your shoes. To do this first look at where your right shoe tends to wear out and then compare it to the left shoe. You might find you are really loading one part of the shoe or one foot more than the other. Talking about this with a healthcare professional can help determine what type of shoe would best fit you. Also, the healthcare professional can look at muscle imbalances that may be causing this shoe wear-pattern.
2) Increase your mileage slowly and don’t immediately start running multiple days back to back if you haven’t built up to it. If you haven’t been running much in the off-season and then you head straight to the pavement as the weather gets nice then you’re at risk for an overuse injury. In order to avoid these try to find a running plan that doesn’t have running multiple days back-to-back or that starts with a huge increase in mileage from what you have already been doing. Starting with 3-4 days of running a week and then having a day off in-between all of those running days is important. On those “off-days” it’s a great opportunity to do non-impact cardio, such as biking or swimming, or to do a strength training and core routine. A good general rule to go by is don’t increase your mileage or volume by more than 10-15% each week. Your musculoskeletal structures cannot tolerate too much volume increase from week to week. Structures like tendons and cartilage take the longest to adapt to volume increases, which is why we tend to see more “tendinitis” injuries with ramping up running volume too quickly. If you have questions specific to your race training plan (as these will vary greatly depending on your cardio base and what distance of race you’re training for: 5/10k, 1/2 or full marathon, etc.) then feel free to bring in your training plan and consult with one of our physical therapists in the best training plan for YOU.
3) Remember the importance of your hip and core strength! All of us runners know how it goes- the sun is shining and all we want to do is put our shoes on and RUN! But maybe we have forgotten to address some weaknesses that we knew have been present in the past or maybe we just didn’t do a great job of continuing our strength routine in the off-season. If we start increasing our training without our hips and core being strong then you’re at a higher risk of injury because instead of the right muscles working to propel your running, other muscles will compensate or “cheat” which leads to overuse. If you are looking for a great injury prevention strength training routine then we encourage you to check out our running exercise class at Rebound. These classes are led by physical therapists who treat a lot of running injuries and who are also avid runners themselves. We just finished up our 8 week Fort Collins class but we are currently in our 8 week Loveland class. It is Tuesday’s from 6:15-7:15pm from now until end of April. If you have any questions about the class please email An[email protected]or [email protected] or call 663.6142.
4) Don’t push through pain for too long before seeking medical advice. No one wants to be told they can’t run their race they’ve been training for for months or already paid the expensive registration for. The key here is to catch the injury EARLY before it sidelines you from your big race or event. If you are unsure what to do for an aching pain that flares it’s ugly head every time you run (or after you run) then please schedule a consult. You will get to meet with one of our Rebound Physical therapists on what the injury is and what to do for it. If a doctor’s visit is indicated or if an xray or MRI is needed we will tell you that within that initial visit. If it’s just a little ache that is okay to push through then we can give you the encouragement to keep pushing through. The majority of overuse injuries are going to respond better if we catch them early and prevent them from getting worse. Typically, the longer the injury has been hanging around then the longer it’ll take to treat so please come in and let us help you! It is our pleasure to keep our runners and athletes healthy and keep them doing what they love!!! (especially this beautiful time of the year when we all want to enjoy the longer and warmer spring days!)
Anna Towne, PT, DPT, CSCS
Rebound Sports & Physical Therapy
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