Key Components of a Running Cross Training Plan

Running injury: Free July workshop 2019

For those of you who attended our running workshop in July, thank you! We are so glad we get to share our knowledge with our community.

We spent an hour and a half a few weeks ago talking about running and about the importance of strength training for injury prevention or to recover from an injury. Our presenters were the amazingly talented and knowledgeable physical therapists and runners, Dr. Anna Luna and Dr. Karen Lovely. Dr. Lovely has written up a little blog to remind you of the things you may already have forgotten, or to enlighten you if you missed this free community course. Enjoy (as a runner and physical therapist, I certainly did)!

You have an hour.  You throw on shorts and a t-shirt, lace up your shoes, and head out the door for a run.  You reflect on the beauty of running – a great cardio workout, your legs are getting stronger, your mind is more relaxed, and it is time efficient.  You finish up, shower, and you’re ready to take on the day.  

Image from Unsplash.

Image from Unsplash.

True Fact: Running is an incredible activity for the mind and body. Running is meditative. Running increases our cardiovascular output.  If you are reading this, you probably love to run.

Myth: Your legs are strong from running so you don’t need to strength train. 

At the end of July, we had a dynamic conversation during an evening workshop on injury prevention for runners.  After briefly talking about pronation and footwear for runners (see our blog post from last year’s free class for more information), we jumped into a discussion on strength training for runners.   While we love the efficiency of running, strength training to complement running is essential for injury prevention and for rehabilitating from a current injury.   It doesn’t need to be time consuming, but taking 2-3 days/week to work on strength will help you keep up your mileage with lower risk of injury. 

The Key Components of a Running Cross Training Plan

Image from Unsplash.

Image from Unsplash.

The Core: Your core is a group of muscles that provide stability to the human body, comprising your transverse abdominus in the front, multifidi muscles in the back, pelvic floor on the bottom, and capped off with your diaphragm on top.   Without proper core control, the spine and pelvis have excess movement that leads to increased instability in your legs. With running, this translates into increased forces through your ankles, knees, and hips that can contribute to injuries.  Your core will not become strong, stable, and efficient unless you specifically exercise these muscles. 

The Glutes:  The stability provided by your core is complemented by stability and power provided by your gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus.  Glute max, through hip extension, assists in propulsion with running. Glute med works to keep you stable when landing on one leg. Running really is a series of consecutive hops on one leg.  Weakness in the glutes leads to a host of compensations with single leg hopping, decreasing your efficiency, and contributing to increased injury risk.  

In short, complementing your running with glute and core strengthening will keep you running longer, keep you running faster, and help decrease your risk of a running injury.  

Download a free PDF with the exercises Dr. Luna and Dr. Lovely recommend!

Karen Lovely, PT, DPT at Langford Sports & Physical Therapy

Dr. Karen Lovely is a a passionate physical therapist who particularly enjoys working with recreational athletes and older adults, and is trained to treat patients with dizziness, vertigo, and balance impairments. Karen is a dedicated runner and is very involved in all aspects of physical therapy, including our professional organization, the American Physical Therapy Association.

What if you’re hurt, or can’t do these movements well or without pain?

Let us know. We would be happy to help you, through individualized physical therapy with our experienced physical therapists. Contact us today to get started! Remember, you might not need a referral to see a physical therapist, so call our office today and see how you can get started. Have a wonderful ski season!

Now what?  Keep up to date and catch the details you missed with our blog.

In case you were overwhelmed by the amount of information that was presented, follow our blog online or find us on Apple News for regular updates. Our next article will have some exericises you should include in your training program to reduce your risk of injury.

Thank you again, and please be sure to swing back in, either to see a PT for an injury, work with Julie for an injury risk screening, or to try a MovNat class or run on the AlterG.