Yours in Healing with Dr. Rachel Lys

7 Tips For Returning To Running Outdoors

Dr. Rachel Lys

As the weather begins to warm up outside and we are afforded with this beautiful environment and longer sunshiny days, have you thought about taking your exercise routine outdoors? Have you thought about how you can run outside safely? In this months column I am going to explain a fews tips to prevent injury. Remember preventive medicine is the best medicine, but should you get hurt there is always a physical therapist waiting to help aide in your recovery.

  1. Change the incline – perfect practice makes perfect form. If you spend all winter running indoors holding onto support from a treadmill this is a predictable surface. This is not a functional real life situation. Before running outdoors practice inside without using the handrails. Practice with different inclines to better prepare your heart and leg muscles for what the real outdoors will ask of your body.
  2. Pick a good trail – when if at all possible avoid running on concrete. Concrete provides no real shock absorption and can wear away the articular cartilage in your knee joints more quickly. Beside Montauk has beautiful trails just beware of ticks.
  3. Buy appropriate shoes – If you have spent the winter waring UGG boats and or possibly not wearing your orthodicts because they didn’t fit into your boots do not begin running out doors with old poor fitting shoes. Be kind to your feet. And remember running shoes should be replaced every 500miles to ensure proper support and lower your risk of foot injury.
  4. Make shorter runs your first step – this step is key in helping prevent injury. Your heart and mind need time to prepare to elements outdoors such as wind, shock absorption, incline. Most running injuries occur during transition stage from indoor to outdoor and vice versa. You can not assume because you can run indoor 10 miles you will be able to run out door 10 miles. Rushing the transition phase will end you up in a PT’s office quicker than you would like. Begin at 50% of your in door run capacity and increase every 10 days.
  5. Start Slow – this refers to distance and speed. Running outdoors is unpredictable to calculate your distance wisely. You do not want to run down to the docks only to be to exhausted to finish the run home. Typically outdoor speed will be .3-.5 mph slower then your indoor running speed for the first month while your body adjusts to the new environmental demands outdoor running provides.
  6. Add ankle stability and balance exercises to your regular routine – The force placed on your ankles joints is two times greater then the force placed on the same joint while running on a controlled path of a treadmill. A physical therapist can aide in developing and overseeing a safe program to strength your lower legs to prevent injury. The best place to start is practice standing on one leg for one full minute three times each day. Then practice calf raises where your heel rises away from the floor attempt to perform 30 without rest. These movements can be included in anyone struggling with walking, balance, or returning to outdoor running. These movements are safe to perform daily.
  7. Do not forget to stretch – Dynamic stretching prior to workouts can increase your range of motion, flexibility, and get your circulation going. In this way, the muscles are better prepared for the repetitive movement of running. Examples of dynamic stretches include: lunges, high knees, butt kicks, arm swings and leg swings. Stretching after workouts can also help with flexibility and muscle recovery. Static stretching has been shown to be beneficial after workouts. Static stretches include seated hamstring stretches and calf stretches.

I hope these type will encourage your mind and body to begin moving out doors again.

As Always Yours in Healing,  Dr. Rachel Lys DPT

631-668-7600    •