’Tis the season for weekend fun runs

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Active & Aging, Athlete Injury, Exercise, Healthy Living, Physical Therapy, Seasonal | 0 comments

’Tis the season for weekend fun runs, charity 5Ks and multi-stage team relays like Bend’s Pole Pedal Paddle. But as recreation and competitive runners hit the roads and trails to prepare for upcoming events, Madras physical therapist Brock Monger, DPT, reminds us that avoiding common early season training mistakes can keep runners healthy and competitive throughout the season.

“Plantar fasciitis, Achilles problems, knee pain and IT band friction syndrome are all common running injuries we see at the clinic, especially early in the season when people are training for races and getting their bodies back into running shape,” said Monger, co-owner of Apex Physical Therapist in Madras. “I think the biggest cause is doing too much too soon, and doing it with poor form or the lack of strength and flexibility.”

To help keep runners on schedule throughout the spring and summer 5K season, Monger suggests avoiding the following five running mistakes:

  1. Skipping warmup and cooldown: While workout windows can be tight and difficult to secure during a given week, don’t use time constraints as an excuse to avoid properly warming up and cooling down before and after a run. Monger suggests spending a minimum of 5 minutes for each, starting with some walking, light jogging, skipping, high knees and butt kicks to warm up. As for the cooldown? “I really like to recommend a light walk, stretch, and to use that time to check in with your body to see how you did,” Monger said. “Do I have any pain? Am I tight somewhere?”
  2. Buying the wrong shoes: How your feet strike the ground will affect muscles and joints throughout your body’s entire kinetic chain, from the feet and ankles, through the knees and hips, and up into your spine and torso. If your shoes don’t fit properly, support your feet correctly or sufficiently absorb the impact of each stride, you’re going to feel it, Monger says. So a good pair of running shoes from a reputable show store is essential.
  3. Not listening to the heart and body: “If all of us were innately really good at listening to our bodies, our injury rates would go down,” Monger said. This includes not only “checking in” with your body during cooldown, but also wearing a heart monitor to ensure you’re training in the proper zones. For instance, Monger said, while you’re building your cardio base early in the season, your target heart rate in beats per minute should be 180 minus your age. For a 40-year-old adult, for instance, that’s 140 beats per minute to start the season.
  4. Focusing only on cardio fitness: With running, cardio fitness is certainly important. But when it comes to both injury prevention and performance enhancement, flexibility and strength are equally as vital. Stretch daily and during cooldown periods, Monger said, and build strength in your calves, knees, hips and core through eccentric heel drops and body weight squats.
  5. Forgetting to rest: It’s good to push yourself, but rest and recovery are essential in avoiding injury, burnout and plateauing before you’ve reached your fullest potential. So always work rest into your long-term training regimen, Monger said, pointing out that “rest” can simply mean mixing up your routine a bit. “You can just spend a day doing something different, like get in the water, do some walking, paddleboard, yoga, or go for a bike ride.”

Running season

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