During an initial evaluation, I ask my patients what form of exercise they like to partake in. I always want to know what kind of activity is important for YOU, the patient, to get back into.
One of the most common forms of exercise is running. Why? Because it has a low barrier to entry. All you need to do is lace up your shoes and start running, right?
You don’t have to deal with gym memberships. You don’t need to go out and purchase a whole bunch of equipment. Most people just decide one day that they want to start running and then do it.
Is this the best form of exercise?
Recreational runners choose it because they think running is what everyone in the fitness industry does. Or, maybe they want to train for a “fun run” 5K/10K event?
Whatever their reason may be to run, the question is can it be the only form of exercise you get?
The answer: NO!
Strength training is an integral part of reducing injury and improving performance with running. There has been a common misconception that weight training makes you “too bulky” to run, you’ll become less flexible, or that if you are training for an endurance event, you don’t need to train for strength. Both of those are completely wrong.
Running, in the simplest form, is a series of little jumps. The rear leg is pushing off and propelling you into the air until you land on the front leg. That front leg must absorb the force of your body landing and transition into it accelerating you forward.
To minimize your injury risk and improve your performance with running, you need to train these two portions of running independently. And the key to training the push off and the landing reside in the strength training world. Having programs specifically made for strength training of these two principles of running will help build up the tolerance in your muscles and become more efficient with your running.
I tend to put the strength training and cardio training into perspective: when we age, is it more important to be able to walk a few miles, or continue to get up out of your chair throughout the day? If I had to choose cardio or strength training, I am always picking strength training. There are a lot of benefits to strength training, including increasing bone density, reducing risk of injury, change body composition to more lean muscle, and, of course, increase strength.
Keep in mind that I advocate for any form of exercise over nothing. But, I favor strength training over anything.
How Can Working With Spark Help You Reach Your Running Goals?
1. We can discuss any aches/pains that are present prior to starting an exercise program, or while performing an exercise program
2. Those impairments can be addressed with a treatment plan to ensure those aches/pains do not get worse or impair your performance
3. We can help you set up a proper strength training program based on your deficits to reduce the risk of an injury and keep you running
4. And, most importantly, keep you from missing out on those after “fun run” adult beverages with your friends!
Ultimately, our mission is to help promote life-long health and wellness. If running is your thing, or you are looking for it to be your thing, but are unsure of where to start, afraid of hurting something, or you are tired of trying to train through an injury, feel free to let me know!
Stop spending time resting, taking pain pills, or just foam rolling your legs in hopes of your aches and pains going away.
Apply for a free consultation to discuss your needs and concerns.