5 Tips for Running Pain Free
In this post, we discuss the smart ways to run pain-free and the rationale as to why we should expect some pain when you run and when "some" pain is too much. Keep reading as we go through five tips that help you run pain-free.
1. Progress Appropriately
Many times, we take up running as though we've been doing it for years. Running seems much easier than it is physically. So, set your goals lower than you think you should. That time allows your body to adapt to running. A good tip is to run for a specific amount of time over setting a running goal in miles. Up the ante every season so that you progress naturally without overstraining the body.
2. Run Slower Than You Think You Should
Sometimes, we get it into our head that we have to run a 7-minute mile. Not so. You gain as much from running slower, and at a slower pace, you can focus on technique. An excellent way to set your running pace is to continue to speak a full sentence without running out of air. The benefit of running slower is that it allows your body to adapt to running. As your body progress, so can the speed at which you run. Even at faster speeds, you should still be able to speak clearly between one breath and the next.
3. Strength Train
There is a balanced relationship between your muscles, bones, and connective tissue. When you strength train, you build up that relationship, and your body can tolerate the impact of running. Try focusing on each muscle group in your lower body. Use weight training to target those groups of muscles and do so 2-3 times per week with at least a single rep of 5-20 units. Seek guidance if needed. The benefit is that your body will become better able to handle the stresses from running.
4. Run Candence
Keep the rhythm of your running consistent with short but fast steps. This technique not only helps to keep your pace slow and appropriate, but it prevents many errors that runners make, such as over-striding. A short gait and fast clip keep the body moving, helps the cardiac system to keep pace with your goals, and allows you to speak without gasping for breath. Other benefits for a short but fast gait include reduced risk of injury, increased enjoyment from running, and faster strength gains and endurance.
5. Limit Pain
It is not uncommon to have some pain when you take up running. A fantastic suggestion for reducing pain is to use a pain scale and keeping pain below a 4 out of 10. If your pain level goes over four, then you should stop running and see your doctor or a physical therapist and investigate why the pain is occurring. Many times elevated pain levels that last more than 24-hours are signs that need to slow the speed of your running down while shortening the time you run for the next couple of runs.
This article is written in partnership with Dr. Ben Bagge, PT, DPT, CSCS of Pro+Kinetix. This is the second of a series of articles with Dr. Ben to help with your pain. @prokinetix