Photography By Rus Anson.
Aches and pains are unfortunately common among runners of all levels — bags of ice and tiger balm 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-neighbour theory,’" explains expert Wes Pedersen, running coach and well known 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 quad muscles while strengthening your glute muscles 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 stretches.”
To strengthen your posterior, start deadlifting. This might sound scary but it's a simple exercise which you can steadily increase the weight and reps with, just make sure you get your posture right as to not cause more aches and pains!
“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 (such as weights or HIIT) or restorative routine (such as yoga or pilates).” Focus on cross-training workouts that utilize lateral and rotational movement patterns not present in running, and work your core as well as your legs, he explains. And, of course, if the pain persists or is really intense, check in with your doctor.
The bottom line of the "bad-neighbour 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. You've got to look after your body head to toe!