Is Spring Training Over Yet?

After struggling early in the batter’s box this season, some have suggested that Derek Jeter should be dethroned from the top of the Yankee’s lineup. At the very least, he could have stayed in Florida a few extra days to tweak his swing mechanics. However, spring training is over for the Houston Astros players and fans are soaking up the warm weather and enjoying the magical first month of Major League Baseball.

Although baseball’s training period ended two weeks ago, runners across the country are currently in the midst of their spring training season. For those who have signed up for summer races, this is the time to keep up with that training schedule, because the balmy showers of spring can change into the pounding heat of summer overnight. In order to get the most of your race day experience, it pays to stay on top of your training.

If the warm weather has piqued your interest to sign up for a race, there are many running program available for free online. Among the most popular plans are those crafted by Hal Higdon, which provide comprehensive guidelines to help runners finish their races healthy and on pace. Whether you’re a beginner toeing the line at your first 5k or a seasoned veteran simply looking to spice up your workouts, Higdon has developed running schedules tailored to your individual needs.

Regardless of what training program you decide on, an important rule of thumb, or in the case of runners: “rule of the big toe,” is the 10% rule. Too often, novice runners get lost in the excitement of training and attempt to run too much, too soon, and inevitably find themselves injured. By implementing the aforementioned rule, you should increase your total weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week. For example, a runner is more likely to incur injuries by rapidly increasing the mileage of 2 miles 3 times a week to 3 miles 3 times a week, because the body may not be physically ready endure a 50% increase in mileage.

Over the course of training, runners may experience sharp pain in their shins, which is usually the result of overuse. Unfortunately for enthusiastic runners, the best cure is to rest and reduce mileage until the pain mitigates. But on a positive note, you may still be able to run on race day. If your event offers multiples distances, you may be able to drop down to a shorter distance race. While minor injuries are frustrating, try to keep in mind the bigger picture: resting your legs for a week or two to mend an overuse injury is much better, physically and mentally, than being on the disabled list and waiting months for a stress fracture to heal. So follow that 10% rule, get off the bench and spit out the wad of gum, because spring training is not over yet for runners!
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.