Running Articles

Run faster, efficiently, and with lower risk of injury


Running is the most popular competitive and recreational sport in North America. People love running for many reasons; for one person running provides time alone to plug into the headphones and recharge their personal battery. For others a run can be an opportunity to catch-up with a friend and for others it’s a way to meet new people through running clubs. Some are training for that next race, some for their first race. Running helps people lose or maintain their weight, it helps with cardiovascular health and to lower blood pressure, it helps to create strong muscles, bones and joints. Running helps reduce stress and offers many other health benefits. In short, running is a sport with a multitude of health benefits enjoyed by people of all shapes, sizes and abilities.

For an activity that most people were born with the ability to do, the variability in how people run is amazing.   One person rotates their trunk and swings their arms or hips like a runway model, while the next person is rigid as a board, the variations are drastic. While most of us will never look as smooth and comfortable as those first few people we see glide by on their way to winning a marathon, there are steps all of us can do to improve our efficiency, reduce our risk of injury and improve our running speed.

Flexibility: Key areas to ensure runners have good flexibility are hip extension, hip rotation, ankles mobility and believe it or not, big toe extension.

Strength: Running requires strength, as our bodies become fatigued our running form breaks down. It is important for runners to have strong hips, a strong core, strong ankles, feet and legs.

Neuro-muscular recruitment: This is physical therapy speak that refers to your body’s ability to correctly use your available strength. Sometimes people have good strength but they have created bad habits in how they run so they are not using their available strength to create stability or efficiency in their running pattern.

Running Form: How we run is as important as everything mentioned above. I grew up a hockey player, I practice skating and shooting a puck from the day I stepped on the ice to the end of my hockey career. How come so few of us practice running? There is a lot more to it than just putting in the miles. If we work on how we run, we can improve our form and become faster, more efficient, safer runners.

Footwear: This area becomes confusing because so much of the information regarding what we should be wearing on our feet is coming from the shoe companies who are trying to get you to buy their newest product.   Understanding the basics of what you need to get out of a shoe, or at least who to turn to for help, is important.

Training Intensity: Most endurance athletes train too hard with little knowledge of how our body responds to training or how we should be planning our training sessions. Planning the timing and intensity of our workouts can help runners perform their best at their next big race.

Living Well Therapy is a physical therapy clinic with a dedicated program for runners. We begin with a thorough evaluation process to determine your individual areas of strength, weakness and inflexibility that may be influencing your running. We then perform a multi-angle video gait analysis incorporating slow motion video to analyze the specifics of your individual running gait pattern. We will help you improve your running mechanics by making adjustments to your gait pattern and improving areas of weakness or inflexibility. We also incorporate running form exercises and coaching to help you become a faster, more efficient and safe runner.

For the injured runner, we can help you recover from your injury, determine why you were injured in the first place and work through the above process to make appropriate changes to avoid re-injury.

If you are looking to work through some of the muscle soreness from your training, our massage therapists can help.
Give us a call at 218-481-7603.

From all of us at Living Well Therapy, Happy Running!

How to get the most out of your physical therapy

Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation

1.  Ask Questions About Your Condition and TreatmentKnee

As a patient, you should not simply follow the orders of your therapist. Rather, have an open dialogue with your therapist about what is to be done and what to expect. Think of your relationship with your physical therapist as a therapeutic alliance. Both you and your therapist should be working together to help you move and feel better.

2.  Perform Your Home Exercise Program as Directed

Usually in physical therapy you may be required to perform an exercise program at home (or on your own in your room if you are receiving physical therapy in the hospital). It is essential that you do your best to perform the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist. If, for some reason, you cannot do the exercises, tell your therapist. Taking responsibility for your condition and engaging in a self-care exercise program can help you return to optimal function quickly.

3.  Work Hard

Occasionally after injury, illness, or surgery you need to work hard to regain normal mobility. Your physical therapist won’t expect every patient to get better and dance out of the clinic or hospital. Your physical therapist will expect that you work hard and try your best. By following some simple rules in physical therapy, you can be sure that you have a positive experience. Plus, you can feel good about working hard to decrease and eliminate your pain and improve your functional mobility. If you are unsure of what is expected, be sure to ask your physical therapist.