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  • Writer's pictureAndy Fortuna

Adding pain-free running

So you are ready to start adding running into your training regimen or maybe you already have but your body is fighting you back.

Often, I get clients who come see me after starting a new running regimen experiencing pain in the leg near their shins, also known as shin splints. Some even start to experience nagging pain up the chain in the knee, hip, and/or lower back.

These issues often arise because we are not considering two major things: First, that running is considered to have a high impact on the body no matter if done on concrete or soft grass. Secondly, the total amount of stress our body is already handling both inside and outside (occupational, recreational, family stresses) of training because stress is stress no matter how you take it.

When adding running into our training regimen we have to progress slowly as we would with any other skill, especially if it has been awhile. Adding a weekly 3 mile scenic run into your training may not be the right choice at the moment.

Here are few ways you can build up a solid running regimen and reap the benefits as well:

Walk-Run Intervals

Average mile times are between 8-10 min per mile. So with the example above with the 3 mile run can take you up to 30 min to complete. A great way to build up to that is a walk to run interval. Instead running the full 30 minutes and sacrificing your form you can opt to walk as a recovery while still adding to overall mileage and time. That way you're still progressing in your running without sacrificing your body. You can play around with the intervals but I recommend a 1 min run to 2 minute walk to start.

Multi Day Split

This is another great way to hit your goals with much less impact on your body, So using the same example of the 3 mile run above. Instead of doing it all in one training day, you can split the work throughout the week. For example, running 1 mile 3 days out of the week or running 1.5 miles twice a week. Your runs become shorter to allow your body to adapt to the demands while you work on building up technique and conditioning.

Conditioning Supplement

This is another great way to add conditioning days for running with much less impact on the body. By using an external modality such as a swimming pool, stationary bike, or rowing machine you still work cardiorespiratory conditioning but with less impact on the joints. Try adding 1 day of 30 min swimming, bike, or rowing to your week and build up from there.

The options mentioned above are just the common recommendations I give to clients but not an exhaustive list by any means. Research what works for you and go for it!

Contrary to normal belief, training does not need to be an all or nothing ordeal. In fact, the more we listen to our bodies and make room for positive adaptation the healthier and more resilient we become.

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