Pre- & Post-Run Routines

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Pre-Run Activation

For most of us, lacing up our sneakers and heading out the door is the usual routine. No stretch, no warm-up just GO! But, a pre-run activation routine can go a long way in getting your body ready to move. We believe dynamic activation, as opposed to static stretching, is the best way to do that. Whether it is an easy run or your first marathon, this pre-run routine will kickstart your body into motion. So before starting your watch, take a few minutes to try out these dynamic moves. Your body will thank you later! 

  1. High Knees: 1 minute
  2. Butt Kicks: 1 min
  3. Walking Lunges with Rotation: 10x each side 
  4. Internal Rotation Activation: 10x each side
  5. Hamstring Activation: 10x each side 

Post- Run Activation

We’ve all been there. You get back from a run, and you are immediately immersed in your next task. Although it is tempting to skip the post-run cool down, it is important to take advantage of warm muscles and kick-start recovery before the next run. Our favorite post-run routine involves static stretching of key running muscles. Your glutes, quads, hip flexors, and calves work hard while running, so it is important to thank them for their work with these stretches. We promise it will make the next run that much better!

  1. Glute Stretch: 2×30 sec hold each side – Laying on your back with both knees bent, pull one leg up and across your body driving the knee to the opposite shoulder. Use the other leg as a kickstand to prevent your body from rotating. 
  2. Hip Flexor Stretch: 2×30 sec hold each side – Kneeling on 1 knee, posteriorly rotate your pelvis by pulling your belly button to your spine and tucking your hips under. You should feel the stretch in the front of the leg/hip of the knee that is down. 
  3. Hip Internal Rotation Stretch: 2×30 sec hold each side – Laying on your back with both knees bent, walk one foot out to the side and drop the knee towards the table. Keep your hips square on the table. 
  4. Calf Stretch: 2×30 sec hold each side – Using a step or curb, hang both heels off until you feel a stretch behind the lower leg. Complete with knees straight, as well as with knees bent. 


Reduce the Risk of Overuse Injuries from Running

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The most common injuries for runners are overuse injuries many of which can be prevented. Here are a few tips to keep you running pain-free this season.

Before heading out for a high-impact and dynamic activity like running, it is best to do a brief active warm-up. This can include a slow jog or walk, high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, or even a side shuffle.

Increase running
Increase running patiently. It takes time for your body to get comfortable with increasing miles, so stick to the 10% rule. Do not add more than 10% of your weekly miles between weeks, and make sure to include down weeks in your training. Doing too much too fast is a sure way to cause injury!

Work on technique
Think about feeling tall when you are running. Keep your head up, but don’t lead with your chin, and make sure your hips are tucked in behind you. Keep your stride comfortable, and pretend you have potato chips in your hands so you are nice and relaxed in your upper body.

Strength training is the difference-maker when it comes to efficient and healthy running. Specific muscles, such as our glutes and core, are integral for running. But, your upper body and even the muscles of your feet are important too. Strength training 2x per week can ensure you can build your mileage, increase your speed, and avoid injury.

Get Fitted
We all love a new pair of shoes right?? At NPT HealthWorks, we LOVE the design of On Running shoes and encourage all runners to come in to test them out. However, we recognize that footwear is a unique decision and there are many different makes and models to choose from. The most important thing is to get a fit that ensures your feet and body are happy during your runs. The shoe should feel good from the moment you put it on. The best option is to always go to your local running store and get professionally fit.

Address Imbalances
We also feel that although the shoe is important, it is often more important to look at the body wearing the shoe to fix any imbalances or impairments that could cause injury down the line. As PTs, we are trained to do a gait analysis and look for deviations or imbalances during running. Although assessing someone statically is important, breaking down someone’s running form in the video can give us even more information. Schedule an appointment with a member of our team to address any imbalances prior to beginning a new training program, or if you are noticing pain or an imbalance in your running!

Group Classes
Look for a group class that focuses on good form and correct postures while completing the exercises. We are often pushed outside of our comfort zones in group classes, which can be a huge benefit. BUT, there are times where we get caught up competing with those around us and the form suffers. It is better to complete the class at your own pace with good form than to rush and put yourself at risk of injury. At NPT HealthWorks we offer a preseason training class, Train Hard Recover Well, that focuses on form, strength, and recovery helping runners reach new goals.

Nagging Discomfort
You should NOT have pain when you run! Nagging pain or lingering soreness after a run can be a sign that your body needs some attention. Getting seen by one of our therapists at the first sign of pain can make all the difference in recovery. Better yet, PROACTIVE & PREVENTATIVE care can ensure that any aches and pains are taken care of right away and you can keep running towards your goals.

Recovery Work
Recovery IS the single most important, but also the most overlooked section of training! If you want to ask your body to train hard, you also have to give it the feel-good things it needs to recharge. Sleep, hydration, taking rest days, and staying diligent to a flexibility and mobility recovery program are keys to the win! The biggest reason people get injured is that they lose the balance between recovery and training hard, so don’t forget to give your body some love!