As alluded to in the last blog post, a little bit of extra strength or mobility training outside of running itself can go a long way when it comes to running well and preventing injuries. We see a lot of runners and have compiled a helpful list of exercises that address some common impairments.
Mobility – Proper joint mobility and muscle flexibility are important for any runner. If you lack proper mobility in one body part, your body will still execute the command to run, but will be accomplishing the motion at the expense of efficiency and overuse of other body parts. Lack of hip extension and ankle dorsiflexion are two of the biggest mobility deficits in runners.
Hip flexor stretch – Lack of hip extension while running can place excessive stress and strain on your lower back and ankles while making it difficult for your core and glutes to work properly to stabilize you.
Calf stretch – Tight calves can lead to increased stress around the ankle joint and injuries such as a calf strain, Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy, shin splints, and ankle joint pain.
If you do not have a hip or ankle mobility issue and have good mobility in general, you would not need to perform these exercises as regularly; only to maintain what you already have. Your time would likely better spent focusing on strengthening. However, if you do lack mobility in one area, be sure to give it some deserved attention. A good goal would be to shoot for stretching 3 times 30 seconds on each side 1-2 times per day if you really want to improve your flexibility.
Strengthening – A little extra strength training can greatly reduce your risk of injury, improve speed and efficiency, and give you that extra lift when you wouldn’t otherwise have as much gas left in your tank. Four high priority areas to focus on strength include your calves, hips, quads, and core. The following exercises address all these areas in order. A good goal would be to shoot for 3 sets of 15 repetitions 2-3 times per week.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
Reverse Slide Lunge
If you do have any nagging injuries preventing you from your running and training goals, feel free to give our office a call and set up an appointment. We hope these exercises can help you stay running happy and injury free!
Dr. Peter McMillan, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy