5 Things Physical Therapists Want Runners to Start Doing Now

What if you could avoid aches and pains no matter how many miles you log? Start incorporating these tips into your routine and you just might.

The Odds of Getting Injured


Did you know that as a runner you have up to a 56 percent chance of getting injured? Yep, that’s right. More than half of all runners could be nursing an injury this year, according to a study published in the journal Sports Medicine. (And if you’ve been there, you know how emotionally painful recovery can be.) No one likes being sidelined because of an injury, so we asked physical therapists who treat injured runners for the scoop on what they want you to start doing now to avoid injury later.

Warm Up and Recover Properly


It’s tempting to skip a proper warm-up or recovery session due to time constraints or laziness, says Andrew Fenack, D.P.T., F.A.F.S., a physical therapist at Finish Line Physical Therapy in New York City. But it’s an essential part of the workout that serves to keep runners healthy, he says. “If you have an hour to train, only run for 45 to 50 minutes and spend the other 10 to 15 minutes warming up with dynamic stretching and recovering by foam-rolling an overused muscle group such as your quads,” he says. (You might want to skip your IT band, though.) “By doing this, you’ll reduce injury risk without losing fitness—and you’ll feel better than you did if you only spent the hour running.”

Do Single-Leg Exercises


“Running is a series of single-leg hops performed repeatedly,” says Lauren Alix, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “To be a strong runner and reduce your chance of injury, you need to be strong and stable while standing on one leg.” To improve strength and stability, Alix says to “add two sets of ten reps of single-leg Romanian deadlifts to your strength training routine.”

Move In Different Directions


Hold a Plank for 60 Seconds


Stop Pushing Through Injury and Fatigue


Runners struggle with knowing when they should skip a workout due to fatigue or a twinge of pain. They tend to be stubborn and often push through injury and pain just so they can get a workout in, says Fenack. “If you are consistently sore in one specific muscle, address this before soreness becomes an overuse injury that sidelines you.” Running through fatigue also poses injury and health risks. How do you know if you should skip your workout? Watch for these five times when muscle soreness is actually a bad thing.



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