Running is a great way to burn some extra calories and stay in shape. It’s easy to hurt yourself running, but it is possible to run without pain.
Don’t Sit Too Long
When we sit a lot, the gluteal muscles don’t do any work. This causes a tightness in the hip flexors which are on the front of the hips. Because of that, your legs can’t stabilize themselves leading to aches and pains. Try to get up and move ever 30-45 minutes or so.
Warm Up Backwards
According to Runner’s World, warming up by walking both forwards and backwards can open up your hips and prepare your body for a workout. Start by walking forwards, and gradually build up speed each minute until you’re just about running. Walk at that speed for about two minutes, then turn around and walk backwards for 15-20 seconds. Alternate walking forwards and backwards for to minutes at 15 seconds each.
Ditch the Headphones and Watch
Many people run too fast which can cause problems. Allow your body to set the pace, not the beat of the music or the second hand on a watch. Instead, pay attention to how your body feels and listen to your breathing. If you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re going too fast.
Run on the Balls of the Foot
When we walk, our heels hit the ground first. If you do that while running, it’s jarring for the body because it puts a lot of pressure on the joints. The pressure can cause shin splits, knee injuries, and broken heels.
Run on the balls of the feet instead. Good running shoes can give the support the foot needs to strike in the correct place. To get a feel for where your foot should land, try jumping rope.
Also, overpronation or under pronation can cause aches and pains, especially in the knees and shins. Having someone at a running store analyze your gait and fit you in the proper shoe could help prevent pain.
Check Your Stride
When running, your foot should land just under your hips. If the foot lands too far in front of your body, you’re over-striding, which increases the time in the air and causes a harder landing. That increases the risk of injury. Under-striding can waste energy.
To see how you’re doing, during a run, count the number of steps your dominant foot takes in one minute. If it’s much less than 88, you’re probably over-striding.
Using dynamic stretching (stretching with controlled movements) before a run can increase range of motion and warm up muscles.
After a run, stretch out while your muscles are still warm. Include foam rolling in your post-run routine. It can help relax muscle knots.
If you have pain from running, don’t just power through. Shin splints can turn into stress fractures and other injuries that might seem minor could turn into something worse.
At Health Star Clinic, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about what our experienced team can do for you.