Why Runners Need to Pre-Hab (With Explanation)

Prehab is just a fancy term for making smart training decisionsFrom what I hear from the women in my life, Vogue magazine is kind of a big deal, so when a fitness trend makes its way into those hallowed glossy pages, it’s probably worth taking notice.

Well, Vogue writer Chloe Malle recently spent a lot of words on pre-hab. After reading through her entire article, I realized she’s pretty much talking about making sure you do the stretching and strength training I’ve long-advised incorporating into your running regimen in order to avoid a sports-related injury and the resulting rehab required for recovery.

The basic philosophy behind this method of preventative exercise is summed up in this quote from Joe Holder, a Nike+ Trainer and USATF-certified track-and-field coach: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should or that your body’s ready for it. If you hop into something too quickly, if the stimulus is too intense, it often results in an injury, because your body just doesn’t know how to handle it.”

Now, you can make lots of appointments with expensive specialists, like the Vogue writer did, or you can just listen to my simple guidelines, save a bunch of money and enjoy the exact same result. Here’s the deal: when you’re training toward a running goal, don’t expect to run the final distance during your first week. Don’t run every day. Don’t make running your only form of exercise. Do build in rest days and weight-bearing exercises, and incorporate stretching into your pre-and-post run routine.

Do all that (and, taking a page from Ms. Malle, try the incredible foam roller on your tired, sore muscles) and your pre-hab game will be strong. You can use the cash you save from not buying into this trend to score a new pair of sneakers every few months!
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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