Spring in D.C. is right around the corner. Before we know it, the cherry blossoms will have come and gone. That also means that pretty soon you will be coming out of your winter hibernation to get back into your running program. Unfortunately, it also means that we likely will be seeing some of you come into our office to get treated for an injury. We see it every year. While not every injury is preventable, there are a few steps you can take now, and when you return to running, to minimize the chance of injury. Here are a few of our top tips:
Take care of any nagging aches and pains now
Does your achilles bark at you every morning when you wake up? Do your knees speak to you when you walk downstairs? Now is the time to address the “small” pain that you’ve been ignoring and putting off. Let us help you treat the injury now before it begins to affect your spring running. The offseason is the best time to treat injuries because you’re able to cross train and rest the area more than usual.
Begin or update your strength training program
We get it. We hear it all the time. If you’re a runner, you don’t like doing strength training. Trust us when we tell you that leg and core strengthening is one of the best things you can do right now to prevent future injury. Strength training allows you to improve your endurance as well as make sure there are no muscle imbalances that lead to a training injury.
Refresh your running shoes
Yes, those running shoes that you have broken in so well that they fit like a glove. Running shoes have a limited life span. Even if the outer sole doesn’t look worn down, the inner sole (the part you can’t see) loses its cushioning. This means that your joints end up taking extra stress every step.
Ease back into your training
If you’ve taken the winter off, don’t jump back into the mileage you were running in the fall. It will take some time for you to build back up to your previous endurance level. Even if you’ve been keeping up with your training indoors on a treadmill (good for you, and you have more patience than I), running outdoors places different stress on your body. Back off about 25% on your outdoor mileage at first if it’s been awhile since you ran outdoors.
Schedule a tune-up
Do you have a nagging injury? Not sure if your offseason strength program has done its job? Let us work with you and we will identify any problem areas that could become an injury later. The best way to treat your injury is to prevent it from happening in the first place!