by Christine Livingston, PT, MSPT
As a physical therapist and marathon runner, I have interacted with runners on many different levels. It is a passion of mine both personally and professionally. I love to help people attain their goals of fitness.
Whether you are an experienced runner or just starting out, there are a few key points to training correctly. If you are just starting out, make sure to take it slow. There are many training programs online as well as local training groups who focus on training for 5k’s. There are some local groups who are training specifically for the LS5K. Now is the perfect time to join in and get ready for a Fall run. There are also many great apps including Map My Run which are great to hold yourself accountable as well as keep track of your exact mileage and pace. The key is finding what will motivate you. Whether it’s an app, a training partner, a running group, find what will keep you on track.
One of the most important parts of training which I see most people lack is strength training. A lot of runners think that their legs are strong because they run all the time. But I have tested leg strength in marathon runners, and their individual muscles are not strong. It doesn’t have to be an intense strengthening program but lower extremity and core strengthening exercises should be part of every runner’s training program. This also helps prevent injuries during training and racing.
Stretching is another area that sometimes gets forgotten. Let’s face it, most of us are in a rush and lucky to get a work out in. So leaving time to stretch is close to impossible. If you don’t have 10 minutes before or after your work out, work on stretching throughout your day. While brushing your teeth, you can stretch your quads, hamstrings or calves. If you’re outside with the kids, try to stretch a little. Stretching is so important to keep your muscles at the right length for optimal performance. It is when our muscles are weak and/or tight and not working correctly, that we get injured.
If you do get injured or feel little aches/pains, do not ignore them. Again with our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to say “this will just go away.” But then 6 months later, you still have the same pain. It is much easier to fix issues when they are acute and not chronic. So if you are not better after 2 weeks, seek medical attention with your doctor, physical therapist or whoever you may trust. Most insurance companies do not require a prescription from a doctor to see a physical therapist. So it’s easy! Just make an appointment, and get back to health quickly.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me at Livingston Physical Therapy.
Good luck and Have Fun!
Christine Livingston, PT, MSPT
Physical Therapist/Owner Livingston Physical Therapy