Running offers the ultimate work-out. Building cardiovascular health, strengthening and toning muscles, adding to your emotional health, burning fat & calories and even the social aspects drive those of us who carve out time for running. It’s got to be the easiest exercise to work into your schedule – just put on a pair of good shoes and head outside.
For many of us, all those 5 and 10K’s serve as markers towards the ultimate runner’s goal: the marathon, at 26.2 miles. While it may seem impossible to shift from the booty loop to the Cooper River Bridge or Marine Corps in one season, it’s done by many folks every single year. Proper training is the key.
scoopcharlotte spoke with Physician Assistant, Matthew Dobler at OrthoCarolina, about training for long-distance running, avoiding injury if possible and treatment for injuries.
How to Increase Your Mileage Safely
As an avid runner himself, he was able to provide the following professional and personal tips on increasing your mileage effectively:
- Slow and Steady Progression: Take a mile-by-mile approach. Trying to build distance too quickly can bring overuse injuries like tendonitis in the achilles and/or knee pain. These common running ailments can mostly be avoided by stretching properly, alternating walking and jogging, and making sure to take a slow pace at first signs of pain or difficulty.
- Too Much Too Quick: Slowly adding miles is the key to long-distance success. Don’t skip those important, early training walks. You can reduce the walking as you build stamina and distance. Here is OrthoCarolina’s Overtraining guide.
- Pain: The human body is capable of enduring a marathon distanced run. For centuries the marathon has served as sometimes necessity, sometimes challenge. If you are beginning with long-distance running, at some point, pain will most-likely occur. Ignoring the pain and not responding to what your body is telling you can easily cause a full-blown injury. Keep low-intensity walks and jogs in the mix when working up to long distances.
- Stretching: Properly stretching the calves, the hamstrings, and quads will prepare your body for the intense stress the muscles, ligaments and tendons go through during a long-distance run. Stretching post-run is equally important to avoid injury.
- Good running shoes are key: They are the only equipment you will need. Here is a link to OrthoCarolina’s Shoe Guide.
- Running Location: Choosing where to run is important. Different trails and locations offer different perks and challenges. Here are a couple of links to find handy lists of trails in and around Charlotte. And PLEASE share your own favorite long runs in our comments section below!
Most Common Running Injury
The most common running injury OrthoCarolina sees is the overuse injury. This usually occurs when someone hasn’t fully prepared for the distance they participated in or they decided to start running without training properly. Here is OrthoCarolina’s guide for avoiding injury.
Treatment for a Running Injury
If you do feel that you have injured yourself, Matthew recommends:
- Shutting down and resting immediately, allowing recovery to begin
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Stretching, if possible
- Appointment with OrthoCarolina if pain doesn’t subside within 3 days.
Matthew shared a little about what an OrthoCarolina consultation would look like:
- Discussion about what might have caused the pain
- Physical examination
- Possible X-Ray
- Rest and recovery plan
- Treatment plan. This could include plans for Physical Therapy or Cortisone shots. There’s a lot of debate on Cortisone shots to treat pain. OrthoCarolina’s approach can be found here.
- Prevention plan for not repeating the same injury
OrthoCarolina’s goal is to keep everyone active and doing what they love.
Check out scoopcharlotte’s where-to, how-to guide to running for Summer 2015 here
Note: You should receive your doctor’s approval before training for a marathon.