The weather is starting to warm up and the thought of being outside enjoying the fresh air sounds awesome, right? For many, that can only mean one thing - it's time to start running again. That's great but if you don’t take the time to make sure your body is prepared or has the prerequisites to run, you're in for a rude awakening. Did you know that 65% of runners get injured each year and 50 of them are recurring?
It baffles me that running is often the go-to choice for those looking to get back to exercise because it's one of the hardest human movements to do PROPERLY. It requires an incredible amount of ankle mobility, hip strength/mobility and lastly a strong core! Unfortunately, very few people possess one of these, let alone all of them. I have nothing against running or those who love to run but I've spent a ton of hours working with clients who have experienced severe or nagging injuries resulting from running.
Lucky for you, there are things you can do mitigate the chance of injury and you've got Pippin Performance on your side to make sure you progress properly. So take a seat, (or stand) and let's take a look at some of the common running injuries, plus ways to combat them with strength and mobility.
CHECKPOINT #1: THE FEET & ANKLES
The first thing I look at when someone comes to me and is either a runner or wants to run, is their feet. Unfortunately, our feet take a huge beating because of the type of shoes we wear and the fact that most of our days are spent sitting. On top of that, how many steps are taken in a. typical run? Thousands?
We’ve all heard of plantar fasciitis, but I’ve never seen anyone with great foot and ankle mobility develop this issue. It usually happens because the toes, foot and ankle fail to work properly, putting tons of stress on this tissue.
Some simple and effective things you can start doing now to improve your feet are:
Everyone benefits from spending time barefoot, at the very least while walking around. Next time you're at home, (please don’t do this at the office!) take your socks and shoes off, sit on the floor and start moving your feet and ankles around.
Wiggle those toes and reintroduce yourself to your feet.
Put a tennis ball under your arch and start rolling back and forth for a couple of minutes.
Invest in some toe spreaders. Bunions are not genetic. If you have a bunion it’s because you stuffed your foot into a narrow shoe...simple. Toe spreaders will combat this problem plus build up some resiliency in those tissues.
Develop control with your toes and ankles. Below are videos for two exercises you should do everyday to get there.
Quick Tip: Toe CARS
Quick tip: Ankle CARS
CHECKPOINT #2: THE HIPS
Our hips need to be able to do a multitude of things like extend, flex, rotate internally and externally, plus be strong enough to propel us forward while we run! The hip complex, (psoas, hamstrings, glute medius/minimus/maximus, and internal/external rotators) is where all of our power comes from. If any of these areas lock up or don't function properly, most likely other areas like the knee, ankle or lower back take a beating. On the flip side, sometimes the hip actually takes the brunt of it. Common problem that arise include: piriformis syndrome, hip flexor pain/impingement, hamstring strains, and a dozen others.
The best way to tackle this? Hip CARS. I like to tell my clients that regardless of if you have hip issues or not, do this exercise because it will help with everything in the lower body. The video below demonstrates how to do it.
Quick Tip: Hip CARS
CHECKPOINT #3: THE KNEES
Ohhh the knee. The poor, poor knee. Usually, the knee is what we call the "victim" while the hip or ankle is the true "culprit". What I mean by this is that bad hip and ankle mechanics cause the knee to do some things it’s not meant to do. We’ve all heard of IT band syndrome, patellar tendinitis, meniscus issues, and just chronic knee pain throughout the joint. By cleaning up the ankle and the hip with mobility work, plus getting those glutes to be a little bit stronger, usually the knee starts to calm down and function pain-free. Some other ways to clean up your knee are in the videos below.
Quick Tip: Patella CARS
Quick Tip: Tibia CARS
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
This is not a public service announcement to never to run again. I’ve seen first hand the positive impact running can have on people, not only physiological but emotional and psychological as well. You just have to understand that if you want to run you better start taking your strength and mobility seriously, otherwise, one of these injuries mentioned above is sure to show it's scary face. We’ve got you covered on both fronts.
Below are workouts for not only a quick strength training routine, but also a mobility regimen, all designed for runners. Do yourself a favor and check these out and get your body ready to run when you want and for as long as you want!
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)