It is the Marathon weekend in Dallas. So, this inspired me to write this blog. One of the common mistakes I find with people training for marathons is they tend to focus on running only. Their training starts to ramp up and they think they are exercising so much that they no longer need to get to the gym..
I know this, because I was in the same boat. As a runner training for marathons, I thought the same thing. Strength training and stretching was not a big emphasis in the programs and I stopped going to the gym. I started to get more aches and pains and the nagging injuries. I should have known better as a physical therapist. I got a gym membership and started down the path of strength training and yoga. This made all the difference in the world.
Our bodies are all different, some people can run and train with lots of training runs and others cannot. But as we get older our recovery from our runs starts to slow down and if we do not recover and we continue to push through with more and more runs, this is how those overuse injuries pop up and even our bodies can break down with sickness or diseases (autoimmune conditions, cancer, getting sick all the time, run down, among other things).
So what should we do?
Here are my Top 5 tips to stay healthy as a runner or really any athletes doing lots of training.
1. Soreness that last longer than 4-5 days
If you notice soreness in any part of the body that last longer than 5 days, you need to get this checked out. As this is the first sign that something may not be recovering, which can lead to an injury… Sometimes it may be as simple as releasing some tightness, other times it might be compensation patterns that is creating this problem. Either way when you catch this, it means you might be able to take care of this in 1-3 visits with a good healthcare provider.
2. Go to a Yoga Class
Why Yoga?? Because we tend to not stretch. Yoga is a great way to find imbalances in your body whether it is strength or flexibility. The classes take your joints and muscles to end range creating more flexibility that our body needs to move. I find that when I am tighter on one side of the body, I tend to go home and work on this to keep my body balanced.
3. Diet helps with recovery
Diet plays a huge roll in recovery. (and no, it is not all about protein). Alkalizing foods (Fruits and Veggies) are an integral part of repair and recovery. Acid forming foods (animal foods and processed foods) along with lactic acid build up from exercise will lead to muscular stiffness, general stress, fatigue and joint pain If an acid system becomes chronic, it will show signs of aging and will eventually cause cellular tissue degeneration more rapidly. Eating a more plant based diet will make a huge difference in recovery. At mPower Physical Therapy we put our clients on a program and help them move to a more plant based diet to help them with their recovery and performance. If you would like to learn more about what that program looks like just reach out by email us at email@example.com
4. Strength Training- don’t forget about the upper body
Keeping our body strong will help with your training. Sometimes with runners we think that we need to only focus on our lower body because that is what we use primarily with running. But did you know upper body strength can help even with distance running. No, you do not need to bulk up… But as you run longer distances and get tired can then lead to deterioration of your form, creating poor running economy and effecting your breathing efficiency. By keeping your upper body including the back stronger, your running efficiency improves. I have seen in my office people hitting their PR due to the strength they have gained in their upper body.
5. Consider a Wellness Program
Having a Wellness program in place can help. We have runners come to our office as little as 1-2x a month to catch anything early and work on any tightness that may pop up or weakness and compensation that sometimes happens as we train. The worse thing to happen is when an injury happens 3-4 weeks before the event, thinking it will go away and it doesn’t, it gets worse. We spend months and months training and not being able to run it or running it injured is not a fun thing to do. If you would like to learn more on this program, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 214-538-2559. We can have a conversation to see how we can help.
These are my top 5 Tips to keep you healthy as you are training.. If you have any questions, please reach out to us by email us at email@example.com. We have seen many of runners and triathletes come through my Dallas, TX office for physical therapy and wellness. We keep people running and performing for all their events.