A PT’s Top Training Tips for Summer Runners
By Dr. Nicole M. Lombardo, PT, DPT, CSC
6 Ways to Improve Your Running Efficiency
July is the time each year that we begin to see runners getting serious about training for fall marathons. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to get a spot in the Nov. 4 New York City Marathon, you’ve got just enough time to start a 16-week training plan before the heading across the Hudson River for race day.
There are so many great places to train; some of the best running trails in New Jersey are right here in Bergen County – like The Palisades Interstate Park Commission in Englewood, Liberty State Park in Jersey City, Fort Lee Historic Park in Fort Lee, and James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park in North Bergen.
As a former personal trainer who led a running group at New York Sports Club, and more recently as a certified CrossFit Level 1 coach, I’ve worked with many runners over the years. And as a doctor of physical therapy at Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, I’ve treated my share of running injuries – ITB syndrome, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, achilles tendonitis or patello-femoral pain syndrome (commonly known as “runner’s knee”) – you name it, we’ve treated here it Scerbo PT.
And that’s what I want to talk about today. Running is an excellent way to stay fit, but as with any sport that entails repetitive motion, you need to take proper precautions to prevent orthopedic injuries.
Here are my top training tips for summer runners to beat the heat and stay injury-free:
Have a plan
If a marathon is your goal, you’ll need a full training plan that includes days with shorter runs, longer endurance runs, cross training and recovery time. Be sure to mix some non-running activities into your off-days exercise regimen, such as swimming, resistance training or yoga.
For those who like to build up to a marathon with a few practice races, you’ll find no shortage of events in and around Bergen County. Try the Flat Rock Brook 5K Run in the Wild in Englewood, the CareOne 5K Race Against Cancer in Ridgefield Park, the Tenafly 5K or the 37th Annual Rubin Run in Tenafly, or the Rock the River: Palisades in Fort Lee.
Mind the heat.
Be sure to hydrate properly and avoid overexertion. Schedule your runs early or late in the day, when the sun is low. Choose cooler running surfaces and locations; think turf or a shady trail, rather than hot asphalt. And wear light, loose-fitting clothing to avoid overheating.
Do proper strength training, warm-ups and cool-downs.
To prevent injury, it’s important to stretch and strengthen your muscles — especially those in the lower extremities, such as your abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings and knees. Try ten reps each of the following: squats, single straight leg raises, small hops, calf raises and toe raises. And use a foam roller to increase blood flow and ease tight muscles before and after training.
Wear the right shoes.
That’s easier said than done, because everyone is different. The best way to find that special shoe that will provide the optimal comfort, cushion and support for your particular foot is to visit a running shop and have a proper fitting with a knowledgeable staff that specializes in running gear. Here are a few specialize running shoes, apparel & gear stores in our area: ll Jack Rabbit in Hoboken, Metromix in Edgewater, Aetrex in Englewood and Road Runner Sports in Paramous.
Ask an expert.
If it’s your first time, or you have a pre-existing condition or other concerns, you may want to visit your physical therapist for a movement assessment, running analysis or pre-hab.
For an easy step by step guide on how to train for your first marathon visit our Tip of the month here.
We are always available if you have any questions or need assistance. Call us at 201-941-2240. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.