I’m talking body today… As many of you know this past year (while has been amazing with races), I’ve struggled with a few injuries. From IT band issues to sciatica nerve pain, I’ve learned the importance of body maintenance this past year.
It’s definitely a work in progress, and not something I have perfected, but I am happy with the extra attention I’ve put in to maintenance. I know many runners face so many similar issues, so I thought I’d share some of the main things that have helped me!
Everyone’s body is different, so this is suggested tips. It’s most important to listen to your body — at all times. Your body knows what you need, so listen to it!
1. Stretching (and warming up)
I don’t think I understood the value of stretching before a run until I suffered from tendonitis a few years ago. After a round of PT, I learn some quick moves that I can do as part of my warm-up routine.
These include: a. standing quad stretch, b. hip opener stretch, c. hip stretch on the wall, and d. calf stretch
Warming up is also important before starting a run, especially a long run. Dynamic stretching is a beneficial because it builds up momentum from active stretching, as it propels muscle in an extended range of motion.
Some great dynamic stretches include: a. high knees, b. butt kicks, and c.leg swings.
2. Foam Rolling is a great form of self-myofascial release. I discovered the benefits of foam-rolling once I started taking marathon training more serious, and had several IT band issues.
Foam rolling can help rehab muscles: calves, IT band, piriformis, hamstrings, adductors, and your quads.
For some tips on “how-to” roll check out this Runner’s World article.
Misalignment happens — and it happens to most people, especially runners for a number of reasons; the surfaces we run on, the wear of our shoes, and our 9-5 job. Our lifestyle outside of running causes a lot of internal rotation in our backs; think about it — sitting at the computer for hours, texting, etc. We often don’t spend enough time reworking the damage in the opposite direction. In order to open up the back! This is just one of the very many reasons to make a chiropractor a part of your monthly or weekly routine!
Chiropractor’s can help with a number of issues, some that aren’t running related, including headaches and even neck pain.
I started seeing my chiropractor during this roudn of injuries in 2015. It started with laser treatment on my IT band, and followed by regular adjustments. Sure, it was scary at first because really who wants someone that close to their neck. But I always feel 100x better after. And now after several other injuries… the chiropractor is often my first stop in getting back on track, especially as miles increase with marathon training.
Yes, Please! Massages are amazing, whether you are a runner or not. I used to treat myself to a massage after all my major marathons. My masseuse would always tell me how much I needed more tone-ups, and should try to keep up with maintenance as much as I can.
So I did. Last year, my husband surprised me with a membership to Massage Envy. I was able to get monthly massages and bi-monthly 90 minute sports massages. Not only do massage improve circulation, but they also reduce muscle soreness. Active Release Therapy and Sports Massages add the component of stretching, as well which can be painful, but is always worth it — and I know it’s worth it. Regular massage can also help runners recover faster and therefore be a valuable training tool.
For more benefits of massages for runners, check out this Runner’s World article.
Click here for more information on memberships at Massage Envy.
5. Epsom Salt Baths (and ice baths!)
Finally, something easy that you can do on your own. I try to take weekly epsom salt baths, typically the night before or after a long run. Fill the tub with warm to hot water and then add two cups of epsom salt, and a hint of lavender. You can also add some baking soda and apple cider vinegar for a more detoxifying steam.
Don’t forget your ice baths — especially post-run. I know it can be hard this time of year, but the cold can help reduce inflammation of the muscles! So bundle your upper body, and try to soak your legs in some cold water with some ice for 10 minutes after your longs runs this training cycle!