The Common Running Injury You Can Avoid Now
It's January. It's 5 degrees out. It's almost running season!
Yes we are 3-4 months away now from some of the larger race events in the Fox Valley, Oshkosh, and Green Bay areas. But even though it may not seem it, it's time to start thinking about running again if you're not already running.
Are you concerned or fearful about your body making it through the training season, the initial portion of the season, or the actual races? And if so, why? Many of the individuals and runners that I've worked with in the past seem to be most concerned or affected by the dreaded hamstring strain or pain.
Yes, the hamstring is a common issue for runners of all types and I'm going to do my best to give you my two cents about why. You see, many of us lack a proper foundation for running efficiently and with proper stability. This means, the portion of our center of mass (i.e. pelvis and core) are not doing their job well and so something else down the chain has to pick up the slack to provide extra help.
Think about it like this...when you are out walking and you all of a sudden come upon a patch of ice, what does your body do? It all tends to tense up, guard, and we shorten our steps and don't shift our weight freely. Your body is trying to provide stability and safety from all available hands on deck.
This is what happens to runners with poor stability and efficiency through their glutes, hip rotators, and stabilizers of the spine. And so the hamstring is now, without question, working additionally hard to help either fire a motion or stabilize a motion depending on what part of the running/gait phase you're in. Make sense?
Sooooo...now is the time to build up this foundation for running. You may not be running outside yet or into a program yet. Even if you're a recreational runner, you may be waiting until the season changes. NOW IS THE TIME to address these potential areas for improvement. Your hamstring will appreciate you for it come April, May, and September.
Below are some simple exercises you can attempt and progress if you'd like to start building that foundation...I'd recommend 3x/week and really push your stabilizers to fatigue but don't lose form.
If you're looking for more information similar to this drill to help you stay pain-free on the pavement while hitting the times that you want then I've also included a link to download our free e-book "5 Drills Every Runner Should Master".
Otherwise, best health and happiness to everyone as they begin or continue their running journey or health and wellness journey. I hope this information will help you stay on the road and enjoy every finish line you cross!
Run Happy and Healthy,
Dr. Eric Wallace, PT