As the weather gets nicer, people are going outside and logging more and more miles. Whether you’re preparing for a race or running to stay in shape, it’s important to train properly. Below the experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex offer their best running tips.
Runners should start their workouts with a dynamic warm-up to help make the most of each mile. A dynamic warm-up uses active stretches and movements to activate the body, as opposed to more traditional, static stretches. – experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
Vary Carbohydrate Choices
Be sensible on your carbohydrate selections. Don’t just get all your carbs from fruit or white bread. Loading up on fruit may cause diarrhea. Loading up on white bread may cause constipation. Adding variety from various carbohydrate sources provides your body with the right balance of fiber, B vitamins, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. –Jeff Lucchino, MS, RD, CSSD, UPMC Sports Nutrition
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Morning resting heart rate (MRHR) can be a good indicator of overtraining and fatigue, which may lead to injuries. Each morning for a week, take your pulse before getting out of bed, and calculate your average MRHR per minute. An increase by seven beats-per-minute or more may indicate overtraining. As overtraining can lead to an increased risk for injuries or burnout, when you note increase in MRHR, consider incorporating light training or rest days until MRHR returns. –Kentaro Onishi, DO, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sports Medicine
Use a Foam Roller
Spend eight to ten minutes using a foam roller to loosen up soft-tissue problem areas. Runners should focus on their calves, quads, lower back, hamstrings, and hip flexors. Roll each area 15 to 20 times, depending on how tight you feel. – experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
Stretch After You Run
Take the time to stretch your calf muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, and IT band. Stretching these areas can help to decrease the stiffness and soreness that sets in after you run. –Pat Garvey, DPT, facility director, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services
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Glute Activation Before Running
Properly using your glutes while running decreases internal rotation at the hip and knee. To activate glutes before your run, perform sidestepping with a band around your feet. Take ten steps in each direction. Repeat twice. –Pat Garvey, DPT, facility director, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services
Stretch Your Feet
Rolling your feet on top of a golf or lacrosse ball will prepare your feet for the challenges of running. Use longitudinal and cross-fiber strokes on all the tight areas. This will give your feet a freshly prepped feeling before you go out for your run. – experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
Before a Race, Maintain Calorie Intake
Taper your training, don’t taper your intake. The 600 to 1,000 calories you were burning during your long training runs are now going to be used by your muscles for extra fuel. By saving the calories that you otherwise would have burned during training, you can now double your glycogen stores. –Jeff Lucchino, MS, RD, CSSD, UPMC Sports Nutrition
By applying a balanced surface pressure to specific body parts, compression garments trigger the acceleration of blood flow and increase oxygen delivery to specific muscle groups. This allows athletes to work at a higher rate for a longer period of time, and circulation improvements help the body recover faster by reducing the build-up of lactic acid. –Melissa McLane, DO
Running is a full-body sport using your calves and quads, as well as your butt, abs, and arms. Cross training is an important part of any training regimen because it helps you work your full body, prevent injury, and enhance running performance. – experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
The most important thing you’ll need before you hit the pavement is a good pair of running shoes. They don’t need to have all the latest bells and whistles, but they should fit well, provide the right support, and be suited for the type of running you’ll be doing. –Ron DeAngelo, LAT, UPMC Sports Performance
Principle of Overload
In order to improve your fitness without risking an injury, we recommended you increase your training volume or intensity by no more than 10 percent per week. For example, if you ran a total of 30 miles last week, then your training for next week should be around 33 miles per week when keeping the pace and intensity the same.
Many people’s tendency is to try to build up the training volume and intensity quickly, but a gradual increase in volume or intensity will likely pay off in a long run by reducing the risk of injuries and thus allowing you to continue to train. -Kentaro Onishi, DO, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sports Medicine
About Sports Medicine
Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.