About 80 percent of runners experience injury from training errors or from having a previous injury that never fully recovered. Below are a few helpful guidelines for training for your health, or your next race or marathon.
Increasing Your Training Regimen
• Increase running by no more than 10% every other week.
• An increase can be an increase of intensity, distance or frequency. Only increase one at a time. Increasing intensity can be done by increasing speed or changing terrain (trails and hills).
Relative Activity Guidelines
• If you feel mild pain (0-3/10): it is okay to run.
• If you feel moderate pain (4-6/10): reduce activity until pain level is mild.
• Pain that decreases with activity is ok.
• Pain that gets worse with activity is bad; time to reduce or stop activity.
• No limping allowed. If the pain alters your gait pattern, it’s time to reduce or stop the activity until you have normal biomechanics.
Running Speed and Stress on the Body
• For an average runner, each foot strikes with the force of 2.5 times that of the runner’s body weight.
• Running speed is the combination of running cadence (how many steps per minutes) and step length (the distance between steps). By decreasing step length, you will decrease the stress on your body, but that will slow you down unless you increase your cadence.
• Any alteration on running gait will decrease performance at first. The neuromuscular system needs time to adapt to a new pattern which can take a few months for the body to acclimate to the new pattern and for it to be and feel natural.
Pre- and Post-Run Activities
• Use an active warm-up, incorporating slow jogs and high-knees, for example, to get your muscles activated and firing. Muscles are your body’s stability support system while running.
• If you are not used to stretching prior to running, do not start. However, do not perform a long static hold stretch (more than 30 seconds) before a run, only after a run or on days off.
• Cool down immediately following a run. Stopping activity or movement can lead to a temporary drop in blood pressure that can cause athletes to collapse after a race. Give yourself 30 minutes for a cool down to either walk or jog for about 10 to 20 minutes post-race.
Resting if Injured
• Resting without any activity is okay for a couple days, but more than that, active rest is better than passive rest. Examples of active rest include deep pool running, continued with strengthening, conditioning and cross-training, all while maintaining proper cardiovascular training.
To make an appointment at the MossRehab Running Clinic, please call 215-663-6588. For more information, visit MossRehab.com/RunningClinic.