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Cyclists and Runners: Here are 7 Tips to Avoid Injuries

7 Tips to Avoid Injuries for Runners and Cyclists

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The winter snows have thawed, and there are hints of warmer weather on the horizon. If you are a runner or cyclist, chances are you are ready to hit the streets to begin training and enjoy the spring sunshine and warmth.

But…don’t act too fast!

Many injuries happen in the spring–especially to runners and cyclists–because they are overly excited about getting outdoors again. The best thing you can do for your body is ease back into your outdoor exercise routine. Doing so will ensure that you reduce your risk of injury and are able to enjoy all the warmer days ahead.

7 Tips to Avoid Injuries for Runners and Cyclists

  1. Build Your Mileage Gradually: If you do too much, too soon, too fast, your body will not be able to adapt at the proper rate. Build your weekly mileage by no more than 10% per week. This means that if you run or cycle 7 miles this week, next week you should run or cycle nor more than 7.70 miles.

  2. Stretch Warm Muscles Often: Whether it’s your hamstrings, calf muscles, or hip flexors, runners and cyclists need to pay extra attention to areas of tightness. Stretching is best after a 10 to 15 minute warm-up period when your muscles are warm. It is also wise to stretch at the end of your workout as well.

  3. Listen to Your Body: Your body has a built-in signaling system (aches, soreness, and pain)–but it is up to you to listen to the signals! The rule is rather simple: If something hurts, take the day off. Rest is a very important part of an athlete’s overall training plan.

  4. Strength Train for Alignment: It is highly important that your body remains properly aligned while cycling and running. One of the greatest ways to attain proper alignment is through strength training. Working on the core, hips, and lower legs keeps your pelvis and lower joints properly aligned–and helps prevent knee and ankle injuries.

  5. Pay Attention to Your Posture: Most of our days are spent hunching forward–we work on computers, eat dinner at low tables, and sit in chairs that are not ergonomically correct. When you run or cycle, and if you experience lower back pain, chances are you are also hunching forward during your workout. This puts strain on the lower back. Be sure your bike is fitted to your body and your running shoes are fitted for your feet.

  6. Be Sure to Cross-Train: Swimming, yoga, rowing, and pilates are excellent cross training activities for both runners and cyclists. When used as a supplement in your training, you will improve your muscle balance and have a higher chance of staying injury free.

  7. If Injured, Follow RICE: RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For achy muscles and joints, RICE will help reduce swelling, relieve pain, and protect the damaged tissue. RICE is most effective when implemented immediately following an injury. Apply ice for 15 minutes, elevate the affected area, and add an ACE bandage for compression.

Follow these 7 tips to remain injury free as you kick off your cycling and running training programs this spring!

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