I like to consider myself a runner. I ran the Disney Princess Marathon…well, the half marathon. We had a relay team for the Flying Pig Marathon. My son is also a runner; he runs track and cross country. It seems, though, he has an easier time sticking to it than I do. Let’s face it, with events all getting canceled, I have fallen off the running wagon. However, I did just commit to going back to Disney for another half marathon, so it’s time to get back at it! I reached out to Michael Palmer, MD
, from The Christ Hospital Physicians–Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
, for some tips for how I can safely start my training—and how to keep my son running without any injuries.
Children and sports
Now that cross country is back in session, I wondered how my son should start back up with his training without overdoing it and getting injured. Dr. Palmer says the best thing to do is take it slow and gradually build back into form because your body needs time to adjust to the rigors of a competitive season.Playing through injuries
You hear this phrase a lot when children and adults alike play sports: “Tough it out". I wondered if that is actually a good thing, and according to Dr. Palmer, it is not! He says, “playing through an injury can potentially lead to long-term consequences. If the injury is causing performance to decrease, pain is not improving or getting worse, it’s probably time to get it checked out.”
Activities for middle-aged and senior adults
Like I said before, I like to run. It helps relieve stress, and it just makes me feel better. Plus, I know it’s good for me. So, I asked about some good activities for adults that are easy on the joints. Dr. Palmer says basically anything that keeps you moving, but he also pointed out that strength training is important as well.
Marathons are back
I am excited that races are back, but getting ready for one is difficult anytime of the year—especially during the summer months in the heat. What Dr. Palmer suggested was that you try to avoid the heat as much as possible. Try running in the morning or evening. That makes a lot of sense because my son’s cross-country team only practices early in the mornings in the summer, and they do not run if it’s too hot outside. He also says to hydrate and give yourself plenty of time to recover. When I asked if it was OK to try to work through the soreness, he had this to say, “Soreness is OK to work through, but a lighter workout or an active rest day might be a good idea to help your body recover.”
Overall tips for getting back in shape
I will admit that fitness was not my number one priority during the earlier days of the pandemic, but now it is. I’m worried that I could get sidelined with an injury. I love to run, but I also like to incorporate other workouts. The advice I received was to take it slow and not to do the same workout every time. Dr. Palmer also reminded me to build strength as a runner and not just put in the miles. Of course, proper nutrition is also very important, and as always, stay hydrated!
I feel much more comfortable getting back to my old GOOD routines with these tips. I am ready to hit the road and get back to where I was a year ago. Wish me luck! In the meantime, if you are concerned about an injury, schedule an appointment online with an joint and spine expert near you.