Photography By Rus Anson.
Aches and pains are unfortunately common among runners of all levels — and ice can only do so much. “When a runner comes to me with pain at a joint (hip, knee, or ankle), I always reference the ‘bad-neighbor theory,’" explains Wes Pedersen, running coach and Equinox personal trainer. “That means you should look for any tightness, weakness, or asymmetry...both above and below the site of pain.”
So, if you’re dealing with knee pain, Pedersen’s two-prong prescription includes stretching your hip flexors and quads while strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. (If shin splints are your issue, try these tips.) To stretch the muscles along the front of your body, Pedersen recommends this dynamic stretch series, which the team at Equinox deems the “world’s greatest.” And, to strengthen your posterior, start deadlifting.
“The one thing that I find that most runners do wrong is that they only run,” Pedersen adds. “Try to balance each running workout per week with one strength-training session or restorative routine.” Focus on cross-training workouts that utilize lateral and rotational movement patterns not present in running, he explains. And, of course, if the pain persists or is really intense, check in with your doctor.
The bottom line of the "bad-neighbor theory" is that we should treat our bodies as a whole rather than only addressing individual parts. You know what they say: The thigh bone's connected to the hip bone.