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13 Thu

Stop running to improve your running

Stop running to improve your running

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

If you’re active, let’s say you enjoy running and competing in races and such, then you’ve probably come across the term “cross-training”.  The reason why I say it’s important is because it really is the key to preventing injury.  You need to STOP running, to improve your running.  Sounds strange, but let me explain.

Running is a very uni-planer activity, meaning that it takes place in one direction, forward.  All your joints, your limbs, your muscles; all move in unison to produce a single plane of motion.  Over time, problems can develop.  Many times, I’ve seen patients come to see me with knee or hip issues.  When I ask them what they do for exercise, they usually respond with, “running”.  And then I ask is there’s anything else they do and some say nothing while others say just lifting weights at the gym or using the weight machines.  Little pains can develop and many runners try and run through the pain, but this usually results in changes in their running pattern or gait.  This change can then cause additional stress and damage.

Problems occur when they leave out the cross-training.  In my previous posts, I’ve spoken about the importance of the hip in controlling the knee.  With a single plane activity like running, many overuse injuries can occur.  Cross-training can prevent those injuries and in the long run, improve your running.

The hip and knee joints are constantly placed under the same, repetitive stresses when you are only running.  When you add other activities that require multi-plane movement, those joints can get a little break.  That little break and change in stress is the key that can prevent overuse injuries.  Other aerobic activities like swimming, cycling, or rowing can give your knees and hips a rest while maintaining your cardiovascular endurance.  Bonus points if you can include tennis, volleyball, basketball, or any other multi-plane sport to your routine.  Needless to say, a solid core strength and stability program should be another key component to your training regime and another tool to prevent injury.

The bottom line is to recognize that if you’re a single-sport person, try some cross-training to prevent overuse injuries.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of Toa55 /

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