Is physical therapy for long-distance runners worth your while? If you’ve been running for a while, physical therapy may not seem like a necessity, especially if you haven’t experienced a serious injury or pain. What are the benefits of preventative physical therapy, and can it actually have an impact on your experience as a runner? The truth is that physical therapy holds a wide array of benefits for runners at every level, and it’s ideal to start it now, before any injuries occur. Today, we’re going over some of the biggest benefits you should consider if you’re a runner who’s on the fence about physical therapy. Let’s get started.
1. Build Strength
Any seasoned runner knows that strength training is an important part of maximizing running performance. A physical therapist can help you target your specific needs when it comes to strength training, whether that’s balancing out your upper- and lower-body strength or preventing overexertion by strengthening all of the muscle groups in your legs. They can also advise you on how to ensure that your strength training is conducive to better endurance and faster times.
2. Focus on Form
A physical therapist who specializes in running is a fantastic sounding board when it comes to improving your form or adjusting it based on your goals. Whether you’re trying to improve your times or run for longer periods of time, a professional can observe your habits and help you make adjustments in form that make achieving your goals easier, even as those goals change.
3. Diversify Your Training
Preventing stagnation as a runner is all about pushing yourself in the right ways and to an appropriate extent. That may include adding some new exercises or approaches to your routine. Whether you’re curious about plyometrics, interested in mobility improvement, or looking for different stretches, a physical therapist can make recommendations that are based on your unique physiology and objectives.
4. Improve Performance
“Being a better runner” is widely different for everyone, and whether your goals is endurance-, agility-, or mobility-based, your physical therapist can put together a customized plan to help you achieve them. From coming up with a training regimen that works for your lifestyle to targeting the root cause of any pain or discomfort that arises, your physical therapist should offer all-encompassing strategies for your improved performance.
5. Prevent Injury
One of the most common misconceptions about physical therapy is that it’s a reactive resource – something you turn to once you’ve experienced an injury or pain. The truth is that physical therapy isn’t just effective when the damage has been done; it’s extremely beneficial to start at any time (and, in fact, can yield better results long-term if you’re proactive about starting it). Preventive physical therapy allows you to get ahead of injuries by strengthening your body and improving overall mobility. It enables you to correct mistakes before they have serious adverse effects on your body. Most importantly, it sets you up to be able to do the physical activities you love for as long as possible. Working with a great physical therapist is one of the best decisions you can make for overall fitness, mobility, and health as a runner.
Physical therapy for long-distance runners is a fantastic resource that’s worth considering if you want to maximize performance and prevent injury. To learn more about how to put together an effective physical therapy plan, don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us.