It is time to start gearing up for the Fall race season! Are you thinking of attempting your first race? Or perhaps you’re an experienced runner preparing for a full lineup of fall races? Maybe you’re signed up for the Annapolis Run for the Lighthouse, sponsored by AAC!
Dr. Katie Rainey, Physical Therapist for Advanced Rehab Center, is delighted to launch a program for all levels of experience: an AAC running clinic. Dr. Rainey is an avid runner, having completed 6 marathons and 6 half ironman triathlons, among many other races. As a doctor of physical therapy, Katie has seen and treated countless overuse injuries, the majority of them a result of running, which could have been easily prevented. It was clear to her that a change was necessary. While working as a physical therapist for the Army, Dr. Rainey was able create the program that could bring about that change: a running clinic for active duty airmen. With a focus on running form and efficiency, Katie’s running clinic helps to develop or enhance a relaxed running style that will allow for maximum speed improvement, with a dramatically lowered risk of injury.
To get us started on the right track, Dr. Rainey shared a few of her favorite quick tips for healthy running:
1. More is not always better:
In order to run better, shouldn’t we just run more often? Not necessarily. So many people prepare for a race by focusing only on running. I recommend a more comprehensive approach, with a unique combination of core strengthening, mobility work, and balance training to positively influence form and function.
2. Posture matters:
One of the most critical aspects of healthy running is something you should be aware of all day long: proper posture. Make sure to take breaks from sitting throughout the day to re-set your posture. Correct posture comes from engagement of the core to stabilize the spine in a neutral position. Ears should be in alignment over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees and knees over ankles. If you struggle with posture, consider setting an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to do a posture re-set four times per week.
3. Getting started:
Overuse injuries are the result of demanding too much, too soon. This becomes even more important for runners as they age because research has shown us that the body’s processes slow with age. Your weekly mileage is determined by the date and distance of your goal race, so defining your goals and picking a race helps to formulate your weekly run plan. Running 3 days a week is a great place to start in order to give the body the optimal time to heal and adapt to the many changes that occur.
4. Your pain may mean something:
Are you having knee pain, hip pain, or foot pain when you run? Definitely check in with a physical therapist for an evaluation. Running through pain can lead to an overuse injury that may stop you in your tracks. The sooner you get evaluated, the sooner you can start on the path to healing and recovery. Even if it’s a small ache, an evaluation can do wonders to prevent further injury and keep you active!