If your favorite running route is starting to feel a little ho hum, it might be time to change things up. Whether taking a smooth jog around the neighborhood or training for a race, runners often get stuck in a rut when it comes to training.
Here are three things to keep things fresh.
1. Get social:
Form a team for a charity run or join a running club. If running solo is the only option, find an app allowing you to see friends’ recent activities and compete in online challenges.
2. Change of scenery:
Repetitive treadmill running gets boring quickly. Running on grass instead of asphalt or concrete can reduce the risk of repetitive injuries. Trail running puts coordination skills to the test and challenges different muscles. Make sure you have proper footwear when changing terrains. Footwear designed to give runner’s support and stability are crucial to preventing injuries.
3. Find a rhythm:
Adjusting tempo and pace are great ways to mix things up. Choosing different interval times and distances are also good options for beating runners burnout. Changing things too fast or without proper technique may put you on the fast track to pain, but the most common culprit for injuries is overuse.
According to Cody Olson, DO, an orthopedic surgeon with Banner Orthopedic Surgery Specialists, five common injuries runners face include:
1. Stress fractures – pain caused by tiny cracks in the bones of the feet, ankles and/or lower legs
2. Plantar fasciitis – heel pain
3. Shin splints – pain along the shinbone on the front of the lower leg
4. Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome – pain in the front of the knee, generally around the kneecap
5. IT (iliotibial) band friction syndrome – pain on the outside of the knee
Proper warm up and a post-run stretch are essential to staying healthy. Changing warm up exercise to include light jogging, jumping jacks or jumping rope for a few minutes raises body temperature and improves circulation.
Full body stretching is ideal for runners, but stretching the calf muscles — the most powerful muscles impacting the feet — is particularly important. Inadequate calf stretching can result in shin splints and other injuries.
“Doing too much or simply doing too much too soon can have negative implications for any runner,” says Dr. Olson. “You need to take cues from your body and respond when you feel pain or discomfort.”
If you do find yourself experiencing any sort of pain, Dr. Olson recommends taking a temporary step back from running to focus on other cross training exercises while the body heals. A little soreness is expected when changing routines, but if pain persists for more than a few weeks, it may be time to see a doctor.
Don’t let joint pain slow you down. Take action with our
free, personalized Knee and Hip Profiler from Banner CORE Center to rate your joint health.