1. Hydrate. You’ve heard this time and again but that’s because it is true! Making sure you are hydrated before a run can improve your run. Dehydration can cause fatigue and muscle cramping, which are the last two things you want to feel when heading out for your daily run. So increase your water intake, even by 1 glass a day. You will feel better and your body will thank you for it!
2. Rotate. This might be new to some, but the mechanics of how we run (and walk for that matter) include trunk rotation. If your upper back is tight and lacking that motion, this can lead to injury and insufficient oxygen intake. Our bodies need this motion not only to move properly and prevent injury, but for adequate oxygenation which fuels our cells affecting our muscles and giving us energy.
Try this: Throughout the day, when seated in a chair, place your right hand on the outside of your left leg and rotate your body to the left using your arms to assist you. Once at the end of your motion (remember you should not feel any pain), take 3 deep breaths focusing on letting the air fill up the right side of your lungs; repeat to the opposite side. Do not hinge at your low back. Increasing this motion will improve your running and help prevent back pain.
3. Increase your cadence. Research has shown that if you are having leg pain (i.e. knee pain, the dreaded IT Band pain, ankle pain), increasing your cadence by shortening your step length may be beneficial. A shorter step length can result in less force on your joints, which can help treat or prevent injury as well as increasing your efficiency!
If you find you are having any difficulty with your runs and you've tried the above suggestions, it may be time to seek out the care of a professional. Remember it's always easier to address an issue earlier than later.
Questions? Feel free to contact me at: Brandis@bakertobaypt.com. I'm always happy to help.
I hope you enjoy your runs in this beautiful weather! Until next time!