Proper Training and Common Running Mistakes

Is starting a fitness program part of your New Year’s resolution? Many people opt to take up running as a great way to stay fit, eliminate stress, and shed a few pounds. But making sure you’ve got proper form and training can go a long way. Here are 3 myths you should know about before beginning your program.

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 program.

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 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.

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.

Advice includes listenening to how you run and 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.

If you would like to begin a program and aren’t sure how, or have questions on a potential injury, give us a call. We would be happy to discuss your situation to see if therapy is the right option for you.

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