Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
Whether you’re a novice beginner or a seasoned long-distance runner, shopping for running attire can be a daunting task. With so many options, it may be difficult to determine the best options. Have no fear: our resident running expert is here! We sat down with Carley Schleien, PT, DPT, for a quick Q&A session to point you in the right direction during your next shopping trip— save this Quick Tip Guide for reference on-the-go!
What should I look for when choosing a running shoe?
Running shoes can be one of the most difficult and confusing items to purchase. Many types of shoes exist, ranging from neutral ones, to stiffer shoes, to more minimalist pairs. The most important factor to consider is comfort! Overall, running shoes should support the foot and allow the runner’s muscles to naturally engage and activate properly, rather than trying to do the jobs and functions of those muscles.
It is recommended to try on the shoe at the store and walk around; if simply walking around in them is uncomfortable, it is best not to purchase that particular shoe. You should also consider a shoe with a minimal heel drop (6 millimeters or less). Neutral components are most beneficial for runners, as they will allow you to use a more natural running gait pattern.
For a more in-depth recommendation, there are running shoe companies and stores that offer mini analyses to evaluate your running gait. A store associate can then better propose specific shoe types based on your results.
What kind of clothing is best to wear?
There are a wide variety of clothing companies that manufacture running attire, including shirts, sports bras, shorts, leggings, and socks. Runners should attempt to try clothing on prior to running in them to ensure they feel comfortable, which is individualized to each runner. You’ll have the most success when you feel comfortable on your runs!
Are there additional items runners should be wearing at night (for visibility)?
Running shirts and jackets commonly come with reflective gear that is handy to use when running at night. Since the sun sets earlier in the winter, many runners will be running in the dark. It is vital to wear reflective gear when running at night to ensure that drivers and other pedestrians see you. Some runners even run with headlamps or flashlights as additional tools to notify others of their presence.
What can I wear to keep my things safe (keys/wallet/etc)?
Many products exist to help runners keep their valuables safe while running. Runners often choose between wearing a running armband phone sleeve or a running belt around their waist. Both types of products frequently come with pockets and compartments to store your keys, money, etc., and many belts come with sleeves that allow you to hook on your water bottle.
Is a fitness tracker worth utilizing?
Fitness trackers can be especially valuable when preparing and training for a timed or distance race. Runners may benefit from being able to record the length of their runs, their distances, and their pace. Trackers range in sophistication and can include features such as displaying heart rates, altitude/elevation gains, temperature, etc. There are also apps that runners can download on their phones to track pace, distance, and other metrics.
What additional items may be beneficial for runners at different levels?
One of the most important things to focus on while running is hydration. Runners should ensure that they have access to water while running, whether it’s carrying a water bottle or stopping at water fountains spaced throughout their run outdoors. When completing long distance runs, runners should also ensure proper nutrition with gel packs and energy gels in order to ensure proper electrolyte balance throughout the body.
Back in October of 2015, Whitney, an avid runner, was at her peak training for the upcoming marathon. After an injury left her unable to run for several months, Whitney longed to get back to the sport she loved. That’s when she found a passionate team of people at SPEAR’s E 84th Street clinic devoted to helping her work through her injuries.
Whitney encountered many physical and mental hurdles on her journey back to life. Through her own perseverance, and with the team supporting her along the way, she began to notice improvements in her progress. “They helped me stick to a plan, have faith in the healing process, and believe that I would be strong enough to race again,” Whitney recalls.
And run again she did! Whitney was able reach her personal goal of running once more—she participated in the Timberman Half Ironman, crossing the finish line with a personal record time of 5 minutes and 33 seconds!
Whitney went from fearing she’d be out of the game for some time, to accomplishing a personal goal. She even went on to participate in the NYC Marathon for the first time, and as she excitedly put it, “race with intention”. Whitney’s physical activity level improved, and so did her mentality. “I know now that injury is just a reminder of that which needs to be strengthened. The SPEAR team has my back and that is a great feeling.”
One of the most important ways to prevent injury is to make sure that you are allowing your body to adapt to the amount of running that you are doing, and take care of your body to prevent injury.
Here are 3 things runners can do to take care of their bodies & prevent injury:
Warm Up Dynamically Before You Run!
Most of us don’t like to warm up before we run. However, research has shown that a dynamic warm up is most effective in improving quadriceps strength, hamstring flexibility, and even vertical jumping ability.What is a dynamic warm up? It is series of sports specific movements that prepare the muscles for performance. Here are some ideas for what you can do on the streets of Manhattan before you run.
Click above to watch our Warm Up and Cool Down stretching video!
Stretch After You Run!
Stretching is important. It increases muscle flexibility and range of motion, signals your body to relax, and just feels really good. When you don’t stretch, your muscles can tighten up, stress your joints and change the way you move. Now, you shouldn’t stretch right before you run, but you should stretch daily! Most of us know some easy hamstring and quadriceps stretches to do, but here are a couple of other stretches that can be helpful in keeping you loose.
It is always important to vary the type of exercise you do. Any single type of exercise will overuse some muscles, and underuse others. To ensure that those differences don’t lead to injury, it is a good idea to supplement your main type of exercise. That could mean anything from playing basketball, doing pilates or yoga, or weightlifting. Here are a couple exercises that you can do to help supplement your running.
Getting ready for your next running event? Take these tips into consideration! Curated with the help of Meghan King, PT, DPT, this fast fact sheet offers some great information to help you before you hit the pavement or treadmill!
After you’ve been training for months, remember that in order for all your hard work to pay off, you won’t want to exhaust yourself in the days immediately leading up to a race. Keep your routine to a light jog for only a mile or so.
Tip #2: Stay Off Your Feet
As much as you can, try to rest up and reserve your energy. Have family in town? Send them off to go sight seeing and join them later for a full, healthy dinner!
Tip #3: Carbo Load
To maximize the benefits of carbo loading, start 3 days before and continue until race day. Consult a sports nutritionist a few weeks before to come up with a plan that will keep you going and prime your muscles to store helpful glycogen energy sources.
Tip #4: Have Dinner
Don’t restrict! Eat what you normally would the night before a long run, several hours before you go to bed and give your body a chance to digest before getting a good night’s rest.
Tip #5: Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water beforehand! Give your body a chance to absorb fluids into your system, so you don’t overheat, and monitor your sweat loss throughout your training to figure out how much you need.
Tip #6: Prepare
Lay out everything you will need the night before a race, so you can be ready to go in the morning and not have to worry about forgetting anything. Pack a warm layer you can wear at the start to keep your muscles warm, as well as something to sit on.
Tip #7: Sleep Well…Two Night Before
If you don’t sleep well the night before, that’s ok! It’s more important to get a good night’s sleep 2 nights before the race to feel awake and ready to go.
Tip #8: Talk to Your PT
Lastly, let your PT know about your athletic goals! We’re here not only to help you recover from injuries but also prevent them and work with what you have to reach where you want to go!
On today’s Episode we have Kayla Kleinman. She is a Yoga/Barre Instructor in NYC and author of the Health and Wellness blog titled: Kayla in the City. Kayla in the City is an online platform that inspires millennial women to blend wellness and hustle. She teaches at Y7 Studio and Bar-Method Noho.