It’s that time of year again when the weather is starting to get nicer and you want to spend more time outside, both relaxing and exercising! As summer begins to loom closer, many people either start running outside, or start to ramp up how much running they do in general!
Running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, clear your head from the day’s stress, and improve your overall health! However, sometimes you might find that as you increase you outdoor running, you begin to experience an ache or pain that gets you worrying.
When this happens, you might think that you simply have to stop running altogether to solve this pain and prevent it from getting worse, but that’s not the case! Today, we are going to cover 3 easy tips that you can implement to solve pain with running, and continue to do the running that you love!
- Increase Your Cadence
Your cadence is how many steps you are taking per minute. When you have a slower cadence, you are taking fewer steps per minute, which means that your legs are experiencing more force with each step.
So if you find yourself dealing with ankle, knee, or hip pain with running, try increasing your cadence to about 180 steps per minute. This will decrease how much force each leg receives when making contact with the ground, which can help reduce or stop the pain!
This might seem tricky to try to actually do while running, but there are a few tricks you can use. You could download and use a metronome on your cell phone, or you could choose to listen to a song that naturally has this cadence, such as Santeria by Sublime, The Anthem by Good Charlotte, or GO by Blink-182.
- Reduce Daily/Weekly Mileage
This one seems like a commonsense suggestion, but is one that many people actually don’t think about! Many runners find that when they pass a certainly daily mileage (like 5+ miles in a day) or weekly mileage (like 30+ miles in a week) they start to feel some knee, hip, or ankle pain creeping on.
When this happens, it’s usually a case of doing too-much, too-soon. Sometimes the best solution is to simply back down on daily or weekly mileage a bit (NOT completely stop running) while the pain subsides, and try to slowly return to your previous mileage.
For example, let’s say you can run 3 miles in a day without a problem, but as soon as you do 5 miles you start to notice some Achilles tendon pain. What you could do is revert back to 3 miles per day for two to three weeks, and once the pain subsides, start adding in an extra quarter mile to your daily runs. So you could start with 3.25 miles for 2 weeks, then 3.5 miles for 2 weeks, so on and so forth until you’re at your desired daily mileage.
- Do Some Strength Training
You may not realize this, but your hips, knees, and ankles undergo some pretty high forces whenever you run! If you find that this causes your joints to feel achy, it’s probably a good idea to incorporate some strength training into your training!
You would likely want to target each major joint of the lower body, including the hips, knees, and ankles. Some of the go-to exercises that we recommend for our injured runners are things like squats, deadlifts, lunges, step ups, and calf raises! These exercises build up the strength and endurance of the legs, and can aid in your ability to run pain-free!
We generally recommend most of our clients start with 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps for a given exercise, and choosing at least one exercise that stresses the hips, knees, and ankles in a given session.
Even doing one or two of these strength training sessions per week can go a long way in improving your running longevity. If you are new to strength training, we recommend being cleared by your physician before starting a strength training protocol, and working with a professional who can help you design and implement a proper program.
If you’re dealing with an injury that is stopping you from enjoying your runs and want expert help with it, click the button below to talk to one of our experts on the phone to see if we can help you out!
If you are in New Haven, check out how we can help here!
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