Return to Running

Return to Running

We’ve finally reached the time of year with maximum sunshine, and everyone is looking to spend more time outside. Workouts tend to transition from indoor classes to outdoor walking and running during this season. For many, the drive to resume or increase running mileage picks up now while others are hesitant due to issues like hip or knee pain and bladder leakage. These should not hold you back from starting a running program if that is your goal.

Build an Aerobic Base

The best cardio for you is the one you enjoy; however, different types of cardio have different demands on our joints and cardiovascular system. People are often held back from beginning a running program by their baseline aerobic capacity. Doing lower impact cardiovascular exercises, such as cycling, using the elliptical, hiking, and swimming, are great ways to build up a base by working at a lower intensity for a longer period of time. The lower impact will also reduce the forces on your joints and pelvic floor, reducing the chance of pain or leakage as you get back into running. However, if you want to get good at running, you must run. Working short duration runs or run/walk intervals into your program is important.

Improve Your Mechanics

How we run impacts what we feel when we run. Studies support mechanics such as a higher cadence (how many steps you take per minute, usually suggested as 170-180) and shorter stride lengths for reducing injury risk. Luckily, this will also reduce the impact on your pelvic floor if leakage is a concern. Other common changes we can make to mechanics to improve form include a forward hip hinge (or trunk lean), stacking your rib cage over your pelvis to reduce excessive upright posture, reducing excessive upward bouncing, landing on the mid to forefoot, and not holding our pelvic floor or abdominals tight for the duration of a run.

Don’t Neglect Strength

Running is considered controlled falling. You need to be strong to catch yourself across many miles. Weakness in the hips, thighs, calves, and feet can all impact other joints. People who love to run usually just love to run and avoid strengthening, but adding even just two strength sessions a week can significantly improve your running performance. These do not need to take a long time, but they do need to be dosed appropriately, meaning you are loading your muscles to a point that gets them stronger instead of just making them fatigued.

How to Start

Sometimes the best way to start is to just get out there. As mentioned, a walk/run program is a good start. Your early runs can last for as little as five minutes every other day. Allowing your body to adapt is important. Begin adding 2-5 minutes to your runs based on how your body responded to your previous runs. Subtract time if needed. This is a process with many factors that can influence your performance and how your body responds. You can then increase how often you run while gradually and progressively building up to your goal duration and mileage.

Get Assessed

With so many different factors at play, seeking help from professionals and coaches who provide full body and running form assessments may be a great idea. Whether you are looking to get started, improve performance, or run without leakage or pain, our team at Resolve is trained to help determine what you need to reach your goals.

Dr. Jaclyn McCullough

Dr. Jaclyn McCullough, PT

Physical Therapist

Dr. John De Noyelles, PT, OCS, CSCS

Physical Therapist

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About Us

Resolve Physical Therapy helps youth and adult athletes in the Hudson Valley stay active and pain free. If you have a body, you’re an athlete. We help youth athletes, weekend warriors, Cross-Fitters, runners, complex cases, and busy people get back to doing what they love. This is not your typical physical therapy clinic.

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