(Or Feet. Or Shins. Or Hips.)
We can’t avoid it- running is a high impact sport! We’re cringing just thinking about all of the knee, hip, and shin pain that’s about to occur city wide as Lancaster gears up for the Red Rose Run. The good news is that many of these injuries are entirely preventable. Follow these tips, and you’ll be right as rain come race day.
1. Don’t Push it!
A common mistake that first time runners often make is going too hard, too fast. We know! Running can be exciting, and pushing the limits can feel incredibly rewarding! But ultimately, training consistently and gradually over a longer period of time will be more effective, and it’ll also keep you safe. The general rule of thumb is to only increase your mileage by 10%- that means, if you’re running 3 miles today, don’t go beyond 3.3 this week. Also, don’t forget to train for the hill on South Duke Street! Approaching a hill for the first time on race day is a recipe for injury. An easy way to do this is just practicing on the hill itself- and remember to slow down your pace when you do so.
2. Stretch, Rest, and Recover.
Don’t forget to take your rest days seriously. It’s during these periods of recovery that your muscles rebuild. Disturbing that process prematurely can lead to injury, but most frustratingly, it slows your progress. While we’re at it: don’t forget to foam roll and stretch. You’ll feel sore less often, which means you’ll be able to train more often and efficiently. And if you find yourself injured or need advice about recovery, feel free to reach out for some tips!
3. Stay Hydrated and Fuel Your Body Properly
Did you know that you should be drinking an additional liter of water per every hour of exercise? Are you refueling your body with a protein and carb heavy meal post workout (try an Oola Bowl from Central Market!)? Give your body what it needs in order to be the well oiled machine it’s meant to be! Not only will you prevent aches and pains, but the results may surprise you.
4. Strength Train a Few Days a Week
Listen, we get it! Runners gonna run. But they also can avoid getting hurt by taking a day or two a week to spend some time strength training. It may not be your favorite way to sweat, but the benefits of training your glutes, core, hips, and back are BIG. Think: improved posture, less low back pain, reduced likelihood of knee injury, and more power in your legs.
Every muscle in our body is connected, working in systems to make movement as easy and possible for our bodies. When we functionally train our core and back, we fundamentally spend less energy during a run holding our upper bodies up. And when we do a few squats a week, we’re building the muscle we need in our glutes to gain speed. If you’re not sure where to start, we can certainly help. Click here for a free consultation.
Otherwise, we’ll see you on race day!