It's that time of year again, where the 5Ks and triathlons are every weekend and the urge to get in shape and participate is strong. Whether you're a newbie or veteran runner, or you're simply looking to add it to your interval training, Chiro One Wellness Centers wants you to be safe while you get strong. Here are some tips and tools to keep you in the race:
Wear appropriate clothing (including shoes). What you put on your feet will determine your performance long before your willpower does. Since feet swell, it's important to buy shoes at least one size larger than what you normally wear. Additionally, your socks can make or break your workout—and your feet! Look for wool or nylon blends, and whatever you do, avoid cotton. In order to get the best shoe for you, visit a store that specializes in running. They will evaluate your gait and your foot strike to create customized product suggestions.
Make sure you stretch well afterwards. Believe it or not, running is a full-body exercise. If you're doing it correctly, you'll feel it in not just your legs, but your shoulders and core as well. A foam roller will work wonders for soothing those sore muscles and helping break-up tight spots, and also reduce recovery time. Don't forget to stretch your feet and ankles too. Dynamic stretches are a great way to cool down after a run and before you transition into the more yoga-like stretching, and/or foam-rolling.
Fuel your workouts with proper nutrition. If you prefer to run first thing in the morning, it's perfectly acceptable to do so on an “empty” stomach. However, if your workout is going to be on the long side (more than an hour), you should plan to eat something beforehand, at least half an hour before you hit the road. And always refuel after with a muscle-repairing, high-protein snack (like a banana with almond butter). Regardless of when you exercise, stay hydrated before, during and after.
Be well-adjusted. Good form is important, but with regular workouts and laptop lifestyles, your body can get out-of-alignment. Chiropractic has been shown to help active athletes stay in top form through regular adjustments. It can also reduce or eliminate common runners' ailments such as: plantar fasciitis, hip bursitis and IT band issues.
Take a day off here and there. We understand, you're seeing results and you don't want to lose your momentum. But skipping rest days will actually impair your performance and set you up for, what could be, a very long recovery. Rest days are critical for rebuilding muscle, giving joints and bones a chance to “de-stress” and allowing the immune system to jump in and work on any trouble spots.
Show your body and spine some love this running season by making smart and healthy decisions, both on the road, and off.