Is Running Enough? Or Should I Be Doing More?
Earlier this week, a former patient asked me whether I thought that adding core exercises to her running routine would help her at all. My immediate response was “Help in what way? Would it help performance? Yes! Would it limit injuries? Yes! Is there any downside to training your core? Nope!” I think that she got the point.
Recently, I have been fortunate enough to meet, and treat, several recreational runners for a variety of different injuries, often in the lower extremities. Knee pain, check! Achilles Tendonitis, check! Hip Pain, Check! All of these pains make a ton of sense because the majority of the wear and tear that a runner endures is experienced in the lower extremities. Admittedly, I am not much of a runner. I joke with patients that I will run all day if there is a ball involved or a large man chasing me. I learn a lot from these patients about the running world.
The most important thing that I learned from all of these patients is that the majority of runners tend to train by running ONLY. Training runs are helpful in that they make the legs (and the heart) stronger, but there are lots of ways that these areas can be strengthened. Many runners view their training runs as a way to build strength and endurance, while at the same time honing their skill. Don’t get me wrong, it is very difficult to improve at any skill without practicing it! Can you imagine a tennis player attempting to take on Serena Williams without ever having picked up a racket? I’m gonna go ahead and chalk that up as a W for Serena!
Another thing that I learned is that runners enjoy the time out on the road with the fresh air. Some of the runners that I have treated enjoy the run for the physical, as well as the mental, health benefits of the run. They are given some time away from the stresses of their life, and they have the chance to focus on themselves.
There is a dark side to running though… Between 37-56% of regular runners will experience an injury as a result of their running in a calendar year, according to a literature review published in 1992. That means that if you are running with a partner, one of the two of you will likely experience some type of injury this year! So what do you think that you could do to prevent those injuries? One of the most effective things that you can do is to add some core training to your weekly routine. Every single runner that comes to my office is provided with some core exercises to incorporate into their training.
Core training as a supplement can help with a couple of different areas. First and foremost it can help to prevent injuries. Secondly, it can help with running efficiency, which translates into faster times. Please do not forget that the core of the human body is like the center of the earth, everything that we do revolves around it. If you have any specific questions about what core exercises would be best for you, please do not hesitate to give me a call!
Movement is my Medicine,