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The Runner’s Guide, Part 2

In the previous blog, the Arlington podiatrists at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center gave you tips for staying healthy as a runner. We’ll continue on that topic today, with even more tips to stay safe and healthy while you run!

Running to Prevent Injury

While running with any kind of form will put stress on the body, having proper running form will help you run in a way that promotes energy efficiency and reduces the risk for injuries and pain.

Proper running motion can be broken down into two components: maximum force and minimum impact. With each and every step, you should be pushing off of the ground with the maximum amount of force possible—this is what moves you forward in an efficient and powerful manner. Your feet should hit the ground lightly, with the start of the impact between the heel and midfoot followed by a speedy “roll” to the toes.

Many novice runners view running oppositely to the ideal running pattern—they place more emphasis on the landing of the foot than the push forward. This is an exhausting and inefficient way to run, and it puts a great deal of stress on the entire body—especially the knees, heels, and lower back.

Running is as much about mindset as it is about fitness—with the right motion in mind, you’ll be able to run safer for longer, and make greater strides (pun intended) with your running and fitness goals.

Staying Healthy As A Runner

Even if you’re running with the right shoes and the right motion, you must have the right running regimen to avoid nagging pain and the dreaded “runner’s burnout.” Ignoring the signs your body is sending you will only lead to further injury and less time doing what you love, so follow these tips to keep yourself on track and out of trouble.

Rest and recover.

Sometimes, runners can get a little carried away with their running regimen as they push to log more miles and make fitness progress. Unfortunately, this falls under the law of diminishing returns—if you run too much or too often, you’ll actually see a large decrease in your running performance, energy, and fitness, and you’ll increase your likelihood of developing an injury.

Performing any exercise like running or weightlifting elicits a stress response in your body. When you push your body to its limit, it essentially panics and thinks it needs to grow stronger to handle the demands of the world—and that’s when you start seeing gains in muscular strength and cardiovascular limit.

But if you overload your body with too much exercise (and in turn, stress), your body won’t be able to cope—and that’s when you see dips in your energy levels and athletic performance. Plus, this puts your body at a much higher risk for injury.

When you feel like you’re losing momentum in your running routine, it’s time to step back and rest—take a week or two off, and let your body relax and reset. When you return to your running routine, your body and mind will feel refreshed, you’ll see a spike in your energy and performance, and you’ll be much less likely to develop an injury. Then, you can turn up the heat on your running routine, and make more improvements to your fitness and running abilities.

Don’t ignore nagging pains and injuries.

Runners do not benefit from the “rub some dirt on it” mentality—but more often than not, we’ll see runners coming into our podiatry office with moderate to severe running-related problems that, at one point, weren’t that moderate or severe. These runners all said the same thing: “I’ll just run it off.”

Ignoring your problems (and ignoring your podiatrist) won’t relieve your running-related aches and pains. If you think you’ve tweaked something, or your pain just won’t go away, you need to see your podiatrist as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry—the sooner you go to your podiatrist, the sooner you’ll be back to full strength. If you have a nagging running injury, you know who to call—schedule an appointment with AllCare Foot & Ankle Center today.

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