Spring Training Running Tips


By: Dr. Kim Keeling

Yippie! It’s spring! Time to come out of hibernation and get outside. Let your neighbors know your still alive because they may not have seen you in the past 6 months. There is something about spring that motivates us to move, to work in the yard, take a walk or run. Maybe you are planning for your upcoming running season.  Before you hit the pavement running too hard or too fast, lets talk injury prevention. Runners are one of the hardest groups of athletes to work with. They are notorious for avoiding stretching and training though injuries. They often come hobbling into the clinic in pain and say “fix me but don’t tell me to stop running because I have a race in 3 days.”

Your first step to ward off injuries this running season is to prevent them.  Common injuries that we see with runners are plantar fasciitis, hamstring strains, IT band syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, Achilles tendonitis and hip tendonitis/bursitis. These injuries all happen from improper muscle firing patterns, faulty gait patterns or overuse and all can be prevented. Knowing when to stop could save you a load of pain and agony. 

Here are a few tips to get you started on the right track:

  1. The pressure on your joints is 2 times your body weight while walking and 5 times during jogging. If you have been fairly sedentary this winter and are beginning a running program, you may need to start with a walk/jog program to get you started.

  2. Never increase your mileage more than 10% from the previous week.

  3. Get some help picking out running shoes. Have your feet, knees, hips and running gait evaluated to help pick the perfect shoe for you.

  4. If you can hear yourself running, then you are either pounding down into the ground too hard on contact or the muscles in front of your shins (Tibialis Anterior muscle) are too weak and needs strengthening. Either way, it is slowing you down. Practice a little barefoot running in the spring to keep you light on your feet.

  5. Invest in a foam roller and learn how to use it. This is a great tool to use before and after you run to prepare your legs for movement and for muscle recovery.

  6. Static stretching is best done after you run. The goal of stretching is to relax and lengthen your muscles. However, you do not want a “relaxed” muscle during activity; you want a muscle that is activated. Save your long hold stretches (at least 30-60 seconds) for post-run.Make sure to do an active warm up before you take off on your run.


If you start to develop pain in the joints of your legs (ankles, knees, hips or lower back) then follow these training guidelines:

  1. If you only have pain after your running session for a few hours: Cut running by 50% until your pain subsides and gradually progress by adding 10% a week. If pain persists then come see us. You haven’t officially injured yourself yet and may only need a few recommendations to your stretching and training to get you back on track.

  2. If you only have pain during your running session: Take a break from running for 1-2 weeks. During this time focus on foam rolling, stretching and rebuilding core strength. If you don’t know how to do any of that, come see us and we will teach you.  Begin running again with this 10-minute workout:  Four-minute run/1-minute walk (repeat 2 cycles). If no pain, add 5 minutes every 3 days, working up to 30 minutes, progressing as tolerated.

  3. If you have continuous pain while running and walking: STOP RUNNING UNTIL YOU ARE PAIN FREE! Come see us – you have officially injured yourself!


One of the best tools we have in our office to help athletes have an injury free season are the NormaTec Recovery Pants. This is a muscle recovery system that is commonly used by elite athletes in the Olympic Training Centers, professional athletes, Ironman triathletes and marathon runners. The pants are worn after a training session to aid in muscle recovery. The pants gently inflate 5 separate chambers to flush your muscles of training byproducts and give them a gentle massage. A typical session is 30 minutes. Call us to schedule an appointment to try them out.

Running is a great sport that most people can enjoy for a lifetime. The key to staying injury free is good running form, maintain adequate hip and core strength and knowing when to take a break and give your legs a rest. As always, if you have question about this article, feel free to call me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.facebook.com/sportsandspinalwellness. We would love to be a part of your health care team.







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