Just because the winter months are setting in doesn’t mean your running routine should slow down. Or, if you’re procrastinating and are thinking you’ll use the cold weather as an excuse to further put off a running regiment, just know it’s easier to run in Seattle than many other cities during the winter. No excuses!
However, with colder weather setting in, it’s important to take additional steps to prevent running injuries. Here are a few tips:
1. Improve Flexibility
Stretching before and after your run can help improve and maintain your flexibility, which will protect your muscles against injury. Focus on dynamic mobility warm up (butt kicks, walking lunge with a knee hug, lateral lunge, and grapevines). For best results, stretching multiple times per day (morning and evening, for example) can help maintain flexibility. If you feel you’ve overstretched before or after a run, spend a few doing static stretching – but try to keep it under 40 seconds and don’t stretch in pain.
2. Wear the Correct Type of Running Shoes
Don’t just pick up the cheapest or most readily available shoes. Finding the right shoe for your foot type and running style is monumentally important. A sports store that has specialized running footwear (Road Runner, Super Jock ‘n Jill, or Fleet Feet, for example) can help you find the best shoe for your foot.
3. Jumping in Too Fast after a Long Time Off
If you’re feeling a sudden burst of motivation that propels you off the couch, slow down a little bit. Just because your psyche has been shocked into a running mindset doesn’t mean your body will (or can) follow suit. Give your body time to acclimate to this new schedule – after a few weeks your body will begin to break down and doing too much so soon can cause overuse injuries like shin splints, knee injuries, fatigue, and burnout. As a rule of thumb, try to train at about 50% of your previous norm and slowly ramp back up over several weeks.
4. Hydrate and Eat Well
Take care of your body while you’re not exercising, too. The old adage “you are what you eat” is never more true as when you’re starting to exercise regularly again. Give your body the proper fuel to burn – you wouldn’t put beer and pizza in your car’s engine, would you? Eat your fruits and vegetables! Make sure you have enough carbs to fuel your runs and adequate protein to help with recovery.
5. Talk with a Running Expert or Rehab Specialist
A person trained in running biomechanics and sports rehab can analyze your running form and detect flaws that may result in injury over time. Especially important if you’re recovering from an injury, an exercise rehabilitation program can get your symptoms under control and get you back to your regular activities and exercises quickly. Implementing a cross training program to your exercises can help develop core and lateral hip stability, preventing IT Band Syndrome and many knee problems common in runners.
At Velo Sports Rehab, we can cater an exercise rehab regiment to your specific needs – no “cookie cutter” programs. Applying a specialized rehab treatment to your specific injury will save you time and get you back to 100%. Or, if you’re concerned about your running form or methods, we can analyze your stride and gait and help you correct any issues that may lead to injury down the road.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call us at (425) 590-9208.