Running Tips from the Experts at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

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. The experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex offer their best running tips.

Dynamic Warm-Up

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 about 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. UPMC Sports Nutrition

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Avoid Overtraining

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 an increase in MRHR, consider incorporating light training or rest days until MRHR returns. –Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sports Medicine

Use a Foam Roller

Spend eight to 10 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 Rehabilitation Institute

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 10 steps in each direction. Repeat twice.  – Pat Garvey, DPT, facility director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

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, but 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. – UPMC Sports Nutrition

Benefits of Compression Gear

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

Importance of Cross-Training

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

Wear the Right Shoes

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% 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.  Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sports Medicine

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.