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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

Runners – Do You Need a Running Analysis or a Total Body Wellness Assessment?

One common misconception about running is that often people decide to start running “to get

in shape,” when in reality you really need to be “in shape” to run.

If you are a runner, you know that setting a goal of running in a race is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of training and dedication to accomplish that goal, not to mention, a healthy diet and a healthy mindset as well. In other words, it is a commitment and holding true to that commitment is an accomplishment in and of itself!

But will running by itself get you “in shape” for running? The answer is both yes and no.

The answer yes:

Clearly running itself is a huge component to your training. You can’t expect to win a race when you’ve been training for a run by swimming. The activities are different and different muscles are required for different activities. Therefore, yes, you need to run while you are training. But I’m quite certain you already knew this. If you are new to running, or returning to the activity after a long break, (*hint* Covid) we recommend that you work with a running coach to help you properly train to the level that you are seeking.

The answer no:

Going back to the initial question, is running enough? Let’s face it, running is very demanding on your body. While training your cardiovascular system is necessary for success with running, so is training your musculoskeletal system. And not just by running, which places the exact same demands on your body over and over. Having strong muscles in your legs and your core, and good flexibility is absolutely necessary for improved performance and most importantly, for decreasing your risk of injury.

Overuse injuries are very common with runners, and many times, once they start, they can be very challenging to get rid of, hence the reason you often see the word “chronic” prior to many injuries in runners. I.e. chronic hamstring pain, chronic IT band issues, chronic back pain, chronic shin pain, etc.

Why is everything so chronic? Here are some reasons and the solutions:

Sometimes it boils down to improper training or over-training. Too much physical demand on muscles or joints that have not yet adapted to the demands being placed on them. Solution: seek out a running coach! We recommend Brittany Hendrickson or Jenn Scott at Nashville PT.

Sometimes it is due to improper footwear. Solution: get fitted for proper running shoes! We recommend Fleet Feet if you're in the Brentwood/Green Hills/Hendersonville area or Nashville Running Company if you're in the East Nashville area.

Many times, chronic issues are due to improper strength or flexibility. Yes, this just in, runners should be doing strength training in addition to running. This is EXTREMELY important and often strength training is the first thing to be neglected. There are consequences to placing high demands on your body when your muscles are not developed enough to withstand those forces. The result is chronic, recurring pain, stress fractures and/or tendonitis. Why does it become chronic? Because just holding off on running for a week or two when something starts to hurt doesn’t solve the problem that led to the pain in the first place. In fact, stopping activity (in which case a weak muscle can become even weaker) can sometimes cause more harm than good because as soon as the runner returns to training, guess what happens? Yeah, the pain returns. Now you enter the viscous cycle of pain -> rest -> recover -> run -> pain returns, etc. But there’s a solution!: obtain a customized strengthening program by doing a total body wellness assessment. We recommend that you check out our wellness services at Nashville PT.

But you say you are strong and still having chronic issues? Do you have ENOUGH strength? How would you know? At Nashville PT, we can test your strength by using a hand-held dynamometer, which is a tool that provides us with your strength in pounds, and also as a percentage of your bodyweight. And did you know that just because you have strength in a muscle, doesn’t mean you are actually using that muscle properly during functional activities or tasks? Faulty movement patterns can be a result of a lot of different things. We mentioned muscle weakness and lack of flexibility, but it might be due to joint stiffness, or slight imbalances between your right and left side. Another cause can be that you are not appropriately activating certain muscles while you run, and therefore, in addition to training the muscles, you need to train the brain to utilize them! Solution: schedule a running analysis with Christi Williams at Nashville PT.

To summarize:

Who should get a Running Analysis at NPT?

· Anyone who experiences pain with running

· Anyone who has sought out care for a running injury and has found that when they return to running, the pain returns

· Anyone who is training for a race and wants to minimize their risk of injury during training

· Anyone who is new to running or some other high-level physical activity

· Anyone who sits all day and needs an effective home program to do throughout the day

· Anyone who wants to minimize their risk of developing pain – whether that is from physical activity or lack of activity (a lot of people develop painful conditions from sitting at a computer all day)

· Anyone who has completed a round of physical therapy following surgery and is now ready to get back to high-level activities or return to their gym program without reinjury

Contact us at 615-428-9213 for more information or click HERE to schedule your visit with us today!

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