This is a guest blog post written by Dr. Brad Hochstein of Synergy Chiropractic Spine & Joint Center. You can find more information about Synergy Chiropractic here.
Can you feel it in the air? Winter is coming…
As the daylight savings ends and the time changes, fall racing gives way to winter training. Most of us runners have trained through several races this year, possibly even set a PR. But with winter training we often neglect to mix things up with our workouts. Often opting to do the same treadmill workout or loop around the neighborhood as we try not to slip and fall in the dark.
To make matters worse, we are often less motivated to make time for other beneficial activities. Stretching, foam rolling, core strengthening, balance, hip stability, and foot control are all areas of concern and should be addressed through your regular training routine. This is especially true during winter trainer as there should be increased attention to these areas during the “off-season” of running when most of us move our workouts indoors.
Running is a balance exercise which requires cooperation from all areas of the body. The foot must be stable, hips strong to avoid lateral drift of the pelvis, and core stability to give us the best chance to stay efficient throughout our runs. Exercises as simple as standing on one foot can help more than you think.
Think of your foot as a tripod with weight being evenly distributed between your heel, 1st metatarsal, and 5th metatarsal. Hike the opposite hip up and stand tall focusing on the core without letting the hip on the stance leg side drift outward. As we get stronger we should be able to increase the amount of time we can stand stable which in turn means you are increasing your efficiency and decreasing your chance of injury. In my office, I often use the phrase “inefficiency leads to injury.” We must focus on better ways to be efficient to prolong the lifespan of our running.
Core work is not as simple as doing a bunch of crunches and planks. To really be efficient we must incorporate proper breathing techniques to activate the deep core musculature and spinal stabilizers. This can be very tricky to re-learn as we have all lost the ability to correctly breathe through exercises due to poor posture and sitting most of our days at work. When dealing with any pain or injury in our office, the core is something that is always addressed whether we are working on your foot or your neck. Most traditional core exercises are very detrimental to our spine and should be avoided in most cases.
When it comes to addressing the hips be sure to look for exercises that mimic running such as skater lunges that challenge balance, hip strength, and core stability all in the same exercise. We don’t incorporate as many “clams” or “monster walks” as they don’t truly mimic the activity of running. These exercises are examples or “open-chain” exercises but running (especially stance leg function) is a “closed-chain” exercise.
We are always here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (402)328-2660 if you have any questions or concerns about your running health or any other issue. Head on over and like our Facebook page for more tips and videos on some great mobility and strength exercises.