The sun has finally come back out in Cleveland! It is time to get those running shoes on and get back outside to enjoy the run you’ve been dreaming of all winter long. Whether you took some months off to rest and regroup, or you are coming back from an injury, returning to outdoor running can cause some new aches and pains. You might not believe us, but it can be avoided. Without proper training, education, and understanding of the body while running, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury!

Running may have been a part of your life for many years and you feel like you can just hop right back in, right? Well …yes, you can, but how about preparing your body for running correctly so running can improve your health, not damage it.

First off, let’s talk about proper exercises that aim to strengthen your legs for running. If you think about it, running is a single-leg activity, so how about we start with some exercises which will carry over the best results for your legs? Here are a few exercises for you to try out.

Exercises for running:

Single leg eccentric calf raises: This exercise focuses on the stability and control of the gastrocnemius for proper propulsion during running.

Standing airplanes: The gluteus medius muscle is very important in the control of hip height with standing on one leg as well as for running. It is crucial to wake up this muscle before returning to the sport.

Plank variations: the most important for returning to any sport or activity…core strength.

Step downs: Priming the quadriceps will prepare the muscle group for loading the entire weight of your body

You might feel that you are ready to lace up and go, however, weaning yourself back into running is the safest option for your overall physical health. Additionally, you may wish to jump right back into it at your previous mileage, but a progressive protocol would be a wise choice and to consult with a physical therapist. Everyone is different, and therefore will respond to return to sport therapy differently. Working closely with us to enhance your strength will optimize your performance and prevent further injury. For more tips on exercises be sure to check out our Instagram and YouTube channel!