It’s that heady time of year that every runner keenly anticipates. New shoes. New goals. New finish lines to reach.
The runners I coach have been strength and mobility training this winter to maintain and build the muscles and movement patterns needed for quality spring running. It’s an important aspect of reducing injuries and getting the most of out the season.
Due to the repetitive nature of the sport, it is essential that runners be able to stabilize with each stride. Running is not just about moving forward. It is also having the ability to absorb the stress of the foot strike with every step. Indeed, the big difference between walking and running is the mechanical stress on the body.
Studies have shown that the ground reaction force increases by 250 percent when running. As a result, it is important that each joint be individually stable, and that they be interdependent. For example, poor foot alignment may result in an internal deviation of the knee. A lack of flexibility in the quadriceps may limit hip extension.
Muscle strength is necessary to adapt to the mechanical stress of running. Mobility exercises are suggested to maintain adequate flexibility. Both disciplines will help you become a better runner.
The accessibility of the sport makes it an activity almost everyone can enjoy.
A good way to start is with short intervals of walking and running. Increase the duration gradually. The progression should not exceed 10 percent per week to allow the body to adapt to the mechanical stress and help prevent injuries.
Set achievable goals for the season, and start working toward them. The sense of wellbeing and satisfaction from a good run is nothing short of awesome.
Looking forward to seeing you on the track, trails and finish lines this summer.