Top 5 Tips for a Better Run, From a Physician's Assistant & Athletic Trainer
Mar 13, 2018
This content is brought to you in partnership with OrthoCarolina, one of the nation's leading orthopedic practices with offices across the Southeast.
Now that the weather has finally warmed up for good, we're going to start seeing more and more folks lacing up their running shoes and heading out to hit the pavement.
If you're planning to get some miles in this spring, you might be wondering how you can set yourself up for the most successful runs possible and minimize your chances of injuring yourself. In fact, as we eye up all the brewery run clubsin Charlotte, we're wondering the same things.
That's why we reached out to Matthew Dobler, a Physician's Assistant and Athletic Trainer at OrthoCarolina's Sports Medicine Center, to find out his top tips for a better, safer run. Read on to find out what he had to say.
1. Train to Your Fitness Level
It seems like a no-brainer, but if you're a beginner, Matthew says you should NOT try to run like you've been doing it for years. "Start slow and build your base milage," he said. "Increase your weekly milage by no more than 10% per week."
He also recommended using a heart rate monitor (yup, your wearable fitness tracker will do just fine) to make sure you're not overdoing it too soon. "Increasing milage too fast will increase risk of over use injuries such as shin splints, IT band syndrome, and even stress fractures," he explained.
2. Give Yourself Time
You rush through so many things throughout the day, from meetings to chores—but Matthew explained that you shouldn't make going for a run just another thing on your to-do list that you hurry through. He said if you give yourself enough time to enjoy your run, then the activity can actually be a great stress reliever.
"In addition, if you rush through your daily run, you're also likely to skip other important aspects of training, such as stretching and core strengthening," Matthew pointed out.
You'd think this is another no-brainer, but there are plenty of people out there who don't take the time to stretch before and after their runs.
"Utilize dynamic stretching techniques prior to your run, and save static stretching for after your run," Matthew advised. Find out why you need to stretch after you run (and what stretches you should be doing) here.
4. Build A Strong Core
You might be thinking, "Wait, you're telling me that in addition to working out by running, I also need to work out to strengthen my core?" Yup, that's about the size of it.
Matthew explained that a strong core is key for a successful run. "Your core helps initiate movement, and also helps you maintain form as your legs fatigue," he said.
Your chances of injuring yourself on a run are lower if you've got a strong core. Here are some expert-recommended exercises you can do to build core strength.
5. Dress For Success
Yes, everyone knows that finding the right running shoes is a must (learn more about that here). But the rest of your apparel choices play into how successful your run is, too.
"Make sure you are dressed for the weather. If it is hot, don't over-dress. Dehydration and even heat stroke are serious and real consequences in the heat of a Southern summer," Matthew advised. "Equally important is dressing in layers and protecting your hands, feet, and ears in cold weather. And if you are running in the early morning or later in the evening, wear reflective apparel to improve visibility."
Learn More About Building Strength & Protecting Your Body From the Experts at OrthoCarolina
Whether you've recently experienced an injury, need help with recovery after tough workouts, or are simply experiencing chronic pain and need help managing it, OrthoCarolina can help. Make an appointment at a location near you to start getting the treatment you need.