Why do you run? For some, it’s about setting goals or staying fit. Others love being part of the running community and the freedom running can provide. No matter the reason, the rewards are undeniable.
Developing muscle strength and aerobic capacity have benefits in the long term. Most runners live longer than non-runners. According to a 21-year study, runners have longer lifespans and are less likely to develop a disability. What’s more, the downsides aren’t as bad as previously thought. Many runners think they’ll pay for abusing their knees, but studies show runners are no more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee than non-runners. If you understand and maintain proper form, your risk diminishes even further.
At Wright Physical Therapy we are experts in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives and can help runners improve performance, prevent injury, and get back to running. And, if an injury does occur then one of our licensed physical therapists can treat it. Just because you have an injury does not mean your running days are over.
We off injury assessment, treatment, and training that’s designed specifically for the unique needs of runners. Our physical therapists identify weak points throughout the running cycle. By filming your running pattern and examining your alignment, they are able to see where to strengthen certain muscles, adjust form, improve shoe wear, or reduce impact in order to become a more efficient runner.
ProperTraining and Common Mistakes
Myth 1: Recovery is a break from training.
Recovery time isn’t a break from training, it is part of it. Runners, particularly those at the Master’s (40+) level, can consider taking recovery time every third week instead of every fourth week during a marathon training program. Consider using cross training, such as the elliptical or bike, to substitute for recovery runs to give your legs a break. This allows you to rest your legs while remaining on track for a successful race.
Myth 2: Push through the pain.
Runners know how to handle pain. But how do you determine what pain is normal and what is cause for alarm? Muscle soreness that eases as you run can be normal. However, pain you should be concerned about may have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Pain that does not subside within several hours after running.
- On a pain scale of 1-10 (10 being worse pain), pain that exceeds 3 while running. The onset of sharp pain.
- Pain that wakes you up at night.
- Persistent pain that worsens when you run.
- Pain that persists in the same area, every time you run.
A physical therapist can help determine the cause of the problem and recommend effective cross training exercises, identify when poor form may be contributing to your pain, and prescribe necessary changes in training to allow the body to repair itself. Read more about dealing with an injury on page.
Myth 3: You can zone out on a run.
Running can clear your mind and provide stress relief. However, thinking about your form while running can help you make subtle improvements. Listen to how you run! Notice how you strike the ground. Does it sound the same on both sides, or is one foot strike louder? Notice where your foot lands relative to your body. Is it in front of you, or relatively underneath you, which is often less stressful? Recognize that as you fatigue, your form is more likely to be compromised. Usually when a runner’s form is compromised mechanical stress increases and injury can soon follow.