Reactive physical therapy (that is, physical therapy treatment that you receive after experiencing an accident or injury) is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to useful PT treatment. The truth is that preventive physical therapy is one of the most important tools any athlete – at any level – can have in their regimen. Preventive physical therapy for runners can (and often does) mean the difference between plateaus and PRs, as well as injury and longevity. If you’re a runner who doesn’t see the value in receiving physical therapy right now, we urge you to consider some of the biggest benefits of preventive physical therapy that you can start reaping right now and that you can leverage to set yourself up for success in the future.
The most obvious benefit of preventive physical therapy for runners is that it can reduce your risk of being injured long-term. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or are just starting to hit your stride, physical therapy can help you correct errors in form; optimize your effort; and build both endurance and mobility in order to run better, faster, and longer. More importantly, it can help you do all of these things while also reducing your risk of injury. As you become a more experienced runner, your body’s needs may change; one-size-fits-all solutions are great for beginner-level tips, but the only way to ensure that you’re running safely is by understanding what works for your particular regimen, body, and goals. No one will help you determine this better than a physical therapist.
Improve Mile Times
Preventive physical therapy for runners is also extremely helpful when it comes to your performance. Improving mile times can be about making some basic corrections in form and pushing yourself during training, or it can take more than that. From individualized drills to small corrections you might never have thought to make, a physical therapist will have a detailed understanding of where you can make improvements in order to improve your performance without pushing yourself too far.
Are you optimizing your mobility, flexibility, and strength? Each of these elements plays a fundamental role in your experience as a runner, and it’s important to make sure that you’re working on all of them in order to improve your performance on and off the track (and field). Avoid disproportionately straining some muscles while underusing others by working with a physical therapist to ensure that all of your leg muscles are strong. Set yourself up for longer, faster runs by doing specialized workouts that tackle your problem areas. Incorporate cross-training and plyometrics into your workouts under the supervision of a professional who can help you make sure your time in the gym is as beneficial as possible.
Extend Your Running Career
You won’t just reap the benefits of physical therapy with improved mile times and better endurance; you’ll reap them by extending the longevity of your running career. Conditioning and injury prevention are fundamental to running well for as long as possible, and that’s the foundation that you should be setting now by getting ahead of potential injuries and pains. A physical therapist who customizes your treatment plan and works hand-in-hand with you to drive will help you maximize your chances of being in great running shape for years and years to come.
Preventive physical therapy for runners is extremely valuable, and we encourage you to really consider it as part of your regimen. To learn more about the benefits of physical therapy, don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us.