The Holistic Approach to Running

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By Rachel Zubricky, Guest Blog Writer

Greetings! I hope everyone’s training is going smoothly for their respective Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon race weekend event! As a runner and a physical therapist, I often get questions from runners regarding different pain complaints or injuries that occur during their training programs. Though in general running is a repetitive and consistent activity, depending on each person’s daily activities they participate in, their injuries and pain complaints will differ.

From my perspective, a complementary strength and mobility program aimed at addressing running mechanics as well as an individual’s specific limitations is the most holistic approach. Runners do a great job of running—and maybe even of adding in a few exercises that they know will help their running. But most injuries don’t happen traumatically while running, and instead occur from repetitive stress that happen as we are going about our daily activities. Though we may run for a total of 5 to 10 hours per week during training, we are spending 40 hours per week or greater on other tasks unrelated to running that can affect our running techniques.

So how do we prevent injury and keep ourselves able to participate in our training programs? First, we must realize each person’s body is different, and each person will need an individualized training program. Also, each person participates in different activities related to their job and daily tasks, which affects their running technique. This will affect what types of interventions we will need to perform concurrently with our running programs. So, the first step in developing a good training program for injury prevention is identifying where you may have weakness or tightness as well as any joint mobility restrictions throughout the body.

Though incorporating strengthening and mobility into your training program may seem time consuming, it will be worth the extra time spent if it means preventing an injury that may keep you from participating in the race at all! These interventions will improve your efficiency with running as well, making you a better and faster runner overall. I encourage you to seek out advice from a physical therapist if you are unsure what types of programs may be most beneficial for you. See you at the start line on April 26 and 27!

Rachel Zubricky is a physical therapist at Christie Clinic, a former collegiate track athlete, and a three time-winner of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon 10K. She is a new mom to an 8-month-old boy born during last year’s marathon week.