"I don't know how you do it, I've never been much
of a runner".
Every time I hear a patient say the above statement to me, I always want to reply with, "Well neither was I." As a kid, running was something I loathed. The only time you could get me to run was in some form of sport, like soccer or basketball. I ran track for my local parish, but mainly did it so I could hang out with my friends outside of school. For some reason, I just didn't take much pride in it. If I won a 400 meter race it was cool, but to beat a girl down the court to score a lay-up? That was amazing.
As I got older things changed. On a personal note, a family member passed away when I was 17 and the way I dealt with it was by literally running away from my feelings. As I've grown up, it has become my way working away some of the stresses of daily life. There is just something so comforting about going outside, enjoying some fresh air and getting my heart rate going. And the best part of it is, you can do it alone or with someone else. I know my sister Kristen is always there if I need to talk something out over a run or if I just need a pace car since I'm horrible at pacing myself.
Running isn't perfect though and I tell my patients that. There are drawbacks and potential injuries if not done properly. So here are a few pointers if you decide to give a five miler or another race a try.
1) Have realistic goals
People train years for marathons so don't be upset that you aren't ready for one in a couple months. Starting small and progressing in intervals helps stress the body appropriately and prevent injuries.
2) Proper footwear As a runner, your feet are taking a lot pressure. Make sure to treat them kindly and you'll be able to reach your goals without getting injured.
3) Strength Training
Running is amazing for heart health. However, it can cause some changes in muscles. Since it is a very linear activity, muscles that are needed for knee and ankle stability tend to get neglected. If you're not sure what muscles need work or how to work them properly, I know a few PTs that would be willing to help…
Stretch everything in your legs. Once again, since running is a linear activity muscle tend to get overused and tight which can cause discomfort or injury.
5) Proper hydration. As we get into the warmer months especially, make sure you are drinking enough water. Poor hydration can lead to dehydration and muscle cramping.
These are just a few pointers about how to start running. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any one of the PTs at PTW. Another amazing resource at PTW to help start running is the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
If you're training for any race (like the Broad Street Re-Run) or just putting a lot of miles on the pavement, the Alter G is helpful to take some of the pressure off your joints while maintaining that cardio heart rate.
PTW’s Lauren Nederostek, PT, DPT is the Clinical Supervisor at our Montgomeryville clinic. For an initial evaluation, call Steph at 215 855 1160 today!
Sign Up for this year's Broad Street ReRun online at www.broadstreetrerun.com! Online registration ends Wednesday, May 16th!