Our favorite chiropractor, Dr. Stu, has some great advice for overall training.
We are all excited about the race we have put on the calendar and look forward to a successful outcome on that day. Some of us want to “crush it” or run their fastest race, AKA “PR”, while others are just starting out and want to get to the finish line feeling okay and revel in their accomplishment! Taking care of ourselves can lead to a long healthy running career.
The one thing we all have to do is take precautions about is injury prevention. Nothing decreases the excitement and motivation to train for that race like pain or weakness. Overuse injuries are common in running and we can do a lot to prepare our body, learn to avoid them and prevent them from occurring.
- The most common reason we can get injured at any level is from INSUFFICIENT PREPARATION. Many of my patients started out feeling great and saw immediate improvement, so they prematurely rushed to increase the frequency and intensity of their runs or to add more miles. Increasing training loads too fast can do someone in very quickly. I say at my lectures “if you are running with improper form or too fast, the failure rate is high”. KNOW YOURSELF and KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Always err on the side of caution in the beginning! If you don’t know your limits, find a coach, an experienced runner, or an online training plan to help you set up a training program.
- PROPER WARM-UP FOR SELF-PRESERVATION: This seems to be very overlooked, even by the most experienced runners. Preparing our connective and soft tissues for that workout is extremely important to prevent something from going awry – do dynamic stretches or run slowly 5-15 minutes before you really start your workout. Also crucial is taking care of yourself after or in between workouts with everyone’s favorite self-massage (sometimes torture) tools. Using the foam roller, stick or a ball to roll out the muscles to soften them up can prevent adhesions from forming.
- GET PROPER RUNNING SHOES THAT FIT CORRECTLY AND ARE APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR RUNNING ABILITY! Some people like to wait until they have run a certain amount before they invest in a good pair of running shoes, but it’s not a good idea because running mechanics can immediately go wrong with the wrong shoes. Go to a running store that has knowledgeable people, and try them out. Most of the time the proper shoes are a size BIGGER!!! It took me 6 months to find a new pair of running shoes after my old shoes were discontinued!!! One has to have the right pair of shoes with long-term training. I FINALLY FOUND THEM!!!! (and ran 2 great marathons in them in the fall!)
- Be able to tell the difference from GOOD Pain and BAD pain. Some people with athletic backgrounds can tell the difference between sore muscles and something that is hurting because it is damaged. Being able to distinguish between the two is paramount in not ignoring an injury and making it worse. Yes, you will have sore days in the beginning, but sore muscles are very different as compared to something that is torn, out of place, or putting pressure on nerves or joints. This leads right into #5.
- Find a provider (DrStu.com) that understands sports injuries and training. People say I know their pain, which is true from my soccer and college lacrosse days of horrible lower back injury to ankle sprains to bruised ribs. I also understand the training for competitive events from track to Ultra distances. It is great to have a team of providers behind you that can keep you on the path and not just tell you “stop doing that”. Often a professional opinion is needed to determine if the pain you are feeling is an injury or just a normal ache or pain from the amount of training you have done.
I personally believe it is a great idea for everyone to get regular checkups/evaluations to make sure all of the parts of the amazing machine we call a body are moving properly and in balance. During the season we have many appointments that are pre-race tune ups. I would look for a provider who runs, or participates in sports and/or has a functional movement background. Start a relationship now so you can train for a long time and nip problems in the bud before they develop into injury! I look forward to seeing you out there and if you have questions please do not hesitate to ask.