You should be highlighting these areas if you wish to maximize your runs! Let’s dive in…
Although our last blog detailed out ways to activate and strengthen areas to help prevent injury (see link below), we did not address mobility. Mobility most simply put is the motion at a joint that we can control. In general, we all have areas that feel extra “tight” or maybe even sore after going on our runs. This could be from a lack of control or even a lack of motion the joint to execute the running gait and propel your body forward. When either of these are the case, we overcompensate with other areas and become prone to injury or alter our mechanics to fulfill the task and become less efficient as well.
A movement assessment can become a valuable tool in finding these restrictions and motor control deficits. This is especially helpful for people that aren’t in pain, but want to improve at their sport (in this case running). Because “in order to be the most efficient, we must learn to ‘move our center of mass through space along a path requiring the least expenditure in energy’.” Here at ICT MJC, we utilize an array of protocols to try and maximize this efficiency.
This must be discussed and as we all have heard of, or have even personally been, the person that won’t run all winter then pick up right where they left off in the spring/summer. We are too impatient to build up the tolerance and capacity needed for what we were doing in the past, so in turn stresses our neuromuscular system to the point of becoming injured.
Although this is very often overlooked in the clinical setting, it is undeniably crucial. Sometimes finding out why a person is in pain is simply a case of “too much, too soon.” Often times, there are cases that orthopedic tests and movement/gait analysis will lead to little info, because it’s simply a matter of load! Muscles, tendons and joints can become strained from not easing into a program after having considerable time-off.
Be sure to train smart and respect your body and what it can handle. You should have some type of system of tracking mileage for a checks and balances approach and knowing how much volume you’re putting on your system. Having a simple mileage log can make sure you’re achieving your goal, without overtaxing your system.
Sometimes the best workout is the one you don’t do! Recovery can not be understated enough in a vigorous training regimen. With a combination of proper hydration, nutrition and sleep habits though, you can help decrease the likelihood of future injury. This goes hand in hand with the prior paragraph on load. There needs to be a proper relationship between load and recovery, or you will be susceptible become injury.
Water intake recommendations recommend around 64 oz a day (equal to about a half gallon), but this is for the general population. Athletes may need more due to the amount that is perspired during activity and personal variability. Muscles are predominantly made of water, and water is the basis for many organ and cellular processes in the body. For this reason, I would recommend overhydrating above recommendations (within reason) to ensure you are adequately hydrated for your training sessions and to prevent feeling and having the effects of dehydration/cramping/etc.
“You are what you eat” is an old adage, but what the science is pointing to is it is actually pretty true. We are just beginning to find the effects of food on our genome and DNA and how it in turn effects our external function. Additionally, our body can react to foods differently and become sensitive to them compared to other people that might process them better. First, you should establish what your caloric needs are first (if you’re trying to lose weight, maintain, or gain mass) and then secondly institute a diet that is low in processed foods, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats. (Would adjust complex carb intake based on intensity of sessions).
If food input is correlated to output, then make sure what you're taking in is sensible and within your goals and means.
Your body craves sleep. It is a natural, evolutionary process based on our circadian rhythm. Even if you aren’t training or doing anything athletically, this downtime is crucial for your body to recharge. This is especially the case for athletes. Sleep is the time when growth hormone spikes, your muscles rebuild from the breakdown of the workout session and the inhibition of cortisol. Although general recommendations request 8 hours, some research has even pointed upwards of 10 hours of sleeps for athletes!
Recap: sleep is important.
Additionally, there are various apps you can download that have algorithms and formulas based on what your training intensity should be on your training day. These will include tracking your resting heart rate, asking you subjective questions on your training questions and the overall load over a period of time and in turn spit out a reading for the day on what your training volume should be…if at all!
Here at ICT MJC, we offer the “recovery boots” to supplement your recovery process. This is thought to use a vasoconstrictive process of compression to assist, promote and enhance the lymphatic system to move fluid. In turn, this will help rid substances and “bad” metabolites from the body. Many athletes we have utilize these and enjoy them after a long run or weight training session. Keep in mind these will have little to no effect if the above recommendations on recovery have not been taken seriously, and it should be used in conjunction with proper recovery habits as stated already!
If you wish to learn more assessing your gait, getting a movement screen, utilizing the recovery boots or are simply in pain, contact us for an appointment! As always, train smart.