Exercise / running

Your Questions Answered on Training and Injury

In case something dramatic happened in your life and you missed it… Here are a couple of questions and answers from today’s Ask The Expert session I conducted with Hartford Marathon Foundation. The topic was training, with a focus on increasing mileage, planning for longer spring and summer races, and avoiding injury.

Q: My sesamoid bone in my foot is causing discomfort during running. What are some tips to avoid this? A: Reduce forces putting pressure on the big toe by wearing stability or motion control shoes (not cushioned or minimalist shoes). Foot taping will support the arch and help you land more towards the outside of the foot. Custom orthotics as well as running on softer surfaces like sand, dirt and treadmills can help too.

Q: How long should you train for if you are going to run in a 10k? A: It depends on your starting fitness. If starting from baseline, allow at least 3-4 months to build up gradually and avoid injury. If you are already training for shorter races, you can likely prepare in less time (1-2 months). It also depends on your peformance goals, but if doing it for fun then you just need to build a base and avoid injury.

Q: I’m coming back from peroneal tendonitis injury and physical therapy. What are some ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again?  A:  This is a tough injury to have because it can take a long time to heal! Ask the physical therapist for a continued maintenance plan to continue to strengthen the muscles and tendons at and around the injury. Custom orthotics may help if the problem is biomechanical in nature. If the injury is due to overuse, be senstive to any soreness or pain upon resumption of training and crosstrain/rest at the first sign of soreness  to avoid reinjury.

Q: When trying to lose weight is it more better to run or to perform higher intensity endurance work out? A:   For weight loss, total calories burned is the most important factor to consider. So, a greater time spent exercising will often result in the greatest weight loss, meaning that cardio workouts such as running, biking and swimming are effective.  However, alternating higher intensity endurance work (especially as you get more fit) can keep metabolism elevated for longer immediately after exercise, so these types of interval/sprint workouts can be valuable for continued weight loss over time.

Q: How much cross training should I include in my strength routine to maintain cardiorespiratory fitness? A: Studies show that adding 2-3 days of strength training into an endurance training routine doesn’t reduce or negatively impact cardiorespiratory fitness. However adding substantial endurance training to a muscle strength training routine CAN reduce strength. So, endurance athletes can strength train and maintain performance well. Strength athletes need to be a little more careful not to add too much endurance training or they will lose muscle strength.

Q: Do you think apps like Couch-to-5K are useful for beginner runners? A: Absolutely! The hardest part about beginning an exercise routine is sticking to the routine and making it a habit.  Phone apps, training schedules, partners and groups can all help you reach your goal by holding you accountable to a plan each day. And, with an app, you can look back at previous days and weeks to help you understand what worked and didn’t work.

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