10 Tips for Running Faster, Longer, and Stronger!
By: Dr. Michelle Kang
Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Active Release Technique Provider
The summer is finally here with the sun staying out longer and the warm breeze greeting our cheeks. Whether you are an avid runner training for a marathon or a casual jogger looking to get a kick start in your summer workout routine, we all have one goal in mind: to go for a run, to get in shape, and to get healthy!
The incidence of lower limb injuries in runners are reported to be as high as 80%, including patello-femoral syndrome, shin splints, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis to name a few. Most injuries are due to overuse, or constant repetition of the same movement in running (ref. 1), but can be reduced significantly by following some simple rules:
- Consult your musculoskeletal expert to address existing injuries, checking for any spinal/pelvic misalignment or muscle imbalance issues that may put you at a higher risk of getting injured while running.
- Understand your physical and mental status and know your limits and goals: If you just started running only few weeks ago, you are not going to be ready for a marathon race in another week! Know what is too much and too soon.
- Warm up before and cool down after the run: Static stretches immediately AFTER the run even for 5 minutes is crucial in preventing muscle cramps and injuries.
- Ensure you have good, comfortable running shoes and orthotics that are suited to your feet structure. Studies have shown that utilizing custom-made orthotics in runners significantly reduced lower extremity injuries (ref. 2, 3, 4).
- Wear sunscreen, a hat, and a well-ventilated outfit in addition to proper fueling and hydration.
- Be safe. Ensure you are running in an area that you know well. Be mindful of your surroundings and watch the traffic! DO NOT cross the street when the light is red.
- If you are a beginner or getting back into running after an injury, start slowly and incrementally increase your speed and distance by no more than 10% per week(ref.5). Incorporating intervals of walking between periods of running is a good idea.
- Runners who tend to have recurring injuries or persistent pain typically are subjecting their bodies to exercise loads that are beyond what is tolerable. Seek medical care for proper diagnosis and treatment so that you can correct the problem and prevent symptoms from worsening.
- Combine running with other forms of exercise to get the most benefit. You can integrate other exercises, including elliptical, spinning, yoga, or strength training on your ‘break’ days between running days.
- Lastly, enjoy your run and have fun!
- Van Mechelen W. (1992). “Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature”, Sports Med, Nov;14(5): 320-35.
- Franklyn-Miller A, Wilson C, Bilzon J, McCrory P. (2011). Foot orthoses in the prevention of injury in initial military training: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med 20; 39:30.
- Gillespie WJ, Grant I. (2000). Interventions for preventing and treating stress fractures and stress reactions of bone of the lower limbs in young adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev; :CD000450.
- Rome K, Handoll HH, Ashford R. (2005). Interventions for preventing and treating stress fractures and stress reactions of bone of the lower limbs in young adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev :CD000450.
- Monash University Accident Research Centre. (2006). “Preventing Running Injuries”. Online http://sma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Smartplay-Running-DL-Nat_0414.pdf.