Healthy Running Guidelines

Williamston is a great community of active individuals. And after such a long hard winter, everyone is more ready than ever to get outside and get back in shape. It’s time to get off the treadmill and hit the pavement. As running season begins, it’s important to take care of your body and get those hips and knees moving the way they were designed to.

There is an art to running. Poor biomechanics can lead to all sorts of problems. If you are experiencing pain, attending a Good Form Running seminar at Playmakers in Okemos is a great place to break old habits and learn proper biomechanics. Playmakers will also fit you with the most comfortable and appropriate shoe for you. A good running shoe can help you find the perfect balance between pronation and supination and eliminate the injuries that accompany those issues. Not all shoes are created equal. Some people have high arches others have very flat feet. No matter what your issues are there is a shoe for you. Keep in mind that your health history might also play a part in what shoe you need. Injuries such as repetitive ankle sprains or stress fractures should be mentioned when you have your fitting.

No matter the level of runner you are, it’s important to keep joint receptors firing to improve mechanics and prevent injury. Chiropractic manipulation is an effective tool to do just that. Breaking up scar tissue around joints helps movement and coordination when miles get long and fatigue begins to wear on your mechanics. Foam Rolling will also help to elongate muscle fibers keeping you flexible and pain free after a long run. When soreness sets in after a run, it is due to micro-trauma to the muscle. Micro-trauma is necessary to help strengthen the muscle, but without mobilizing the tissue following the run, it may result in rigid muscles and connective tissue that put too much pressure on hip and knee joints eventually leading to injury. Graston Technique is also a great tool to get you back on your feet after an injury. The technique scrapes scar tissue from the muscle tendons and ligaments pulling blood to the tissue to speed up recovery time. It prevents loss of range of motion and loss of flexibility as you recover.

Cadence is a big part of remaining injury free. Your cadence drives your gait while you run. Light quick steps landing on your mid-foot keeping your feet under your hips allow you to reduce injury. Large steps reaching your foot forward create a heel strike problem that leads to shin splints, runners knee and low back/hip pain, just to name a few. Pulling your legs back will help drive your core and allow you to increase your pace without injury.

There are some great events in the area that make it fun to run, or even walk. It’s just about getting out and staying active. The adrenaline of the competition will help push you to achieve goals you may otherwise not hit with monotonous daily running.
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Williamston offers The Red Cedar Run which is coming up June 21 as well as the All Feet No Hands race on September 27th, as well as others. The Warrior Dash is a great obstacle race that breaks up running by adding in challenging obstacles every so often. Adding fun run races into your schedule keeps it fun and exciting.

Proper biomechanics are key to staying injury free, but it’s just as important to know safety rules while running on the roads. Williamston is overall a very safe community for running. There are great back roads that allow you miles of peaceful running. Even with safe surroundings, it’s important to know how to stay safe while out on the roads. When running on those back roads, be sure you are running against the traffic. This makes you aware of your surroundings at all times. If at all possible, avoid running with loud music in your headphones. This drowns out noise and makes you less aware of what’s going on around you. Change up the route you are running. If you run the same route daily, it’s easy for people to learn your routine making you more vulnerable for an attack. If possible, find someone to run with, or join a running club. There is safety in numbers. Williamston has several great running clubs such as the Williamston Walk/Run Club. (Contact Debbie Richards to join richadebbie@gmail.com)

Whether you are jogging for fun, a serious weekend warrior or an elite runner, your body needs the proper attention. It’s the perfect time to get back outside and get in shape. Get in the habit of running properly early on. Make it a great running season by staying healthy, safe and above all, have fun!