Three Osteopathic Tips for Runners

Whether you do it simply for exercise, or you’re trying to build up your abilities and stamina towards achieving a personal goal like running a marathon, running is simply a fantastic hobby to adopt. But like a lot of physical activities, if you approach it without the proper knowledge, you can end up not receiving the full benefits of the exercise, while also raising the potential to do yourself some significant harm.

With our tips below, you’ll be able to improve your running habit, as well as enhance its benefits to your overall lifestyle.

1. Aim for Prevention, Not Repair

Classic proverbs are classic for a reason—they’re usually quite profound! And the phrase ‘an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure’ rings true when it comes to running as well.

Typically speaking, osteopaths deal with this situation a lot: A runner (whether they’re new to the sport, or are veterans) pushes themselves too hard, and ends up with an injury to their joints, their spinal structure, or their legs (although, given how your body operates, it’s usually an ‘all of the above’ scenario). They then consult with their Osteopathic professional to help them heal and return their body to its previous form.

This approach is common, and while an Osteopathic practitioner can indeed work wonders in terms of treating any physical issues caused by overexertion or muscle-strain, you’ll find that most professionals would recommend that you consult with an Osteopath before you begin a strict running regimen.

Why? Because, like the old proverb declares, getting an understanding of your body’s structure like the way your feet work and what shoes will be appropriate for your body type, how your power and stability muscles function in your leg, pelvis and low back, your overall lifestyle factors including diet, and their relationship to a long-term athletic habit is vital to preventing serious injuries.

The main reason people never return to a sport or fitness routine is that they suffer a minor injury and allow it to derail them. Don’t be like everyone else! Be smart, be healthy! Get in early, learn about your body and prevent injury, rather than just treating one.

2. Your Only Competition is yourself!

Pop quiz: Why do most people start a healthy lifestyle practice, and then almost immediately abandon it?

Because they attempt to do ‘too much too soon’. In terms of running, this could mean going from running zero times a week, to attempting to run 5 kilometres every day!

Fluctuating from one extreme to another isn’t only setting yourself up for failure, but it’s also damaging to your body.

Never compare yourself to your friends, or other runners you see during your runs. Remember that your main goal should always be personal health and developing a long-term lifestyle habit.

A skilled Osteopath will not only be able to consult with you on your body’s response to long-term running, and how to maintain as well as improve your strength and vitality, but they’ll also be able to give you guidance on how vigorous you ought to be when first starting out.  We will give you a training program that suits your body type and that suits your current level of fitness, and progress it under guidance.

3. Like any High-Tech Machine, Your Body Needs Constant Maintenance

“Okay, I understand now,” you’re probably thinking. “I’ll consult with a professional, get a lifestyle and health plan developed, and then I’m done…. right?”.

Not quite. 

While we’ve already stressed the importance of consulting with your Osteopath before you commit to a running plan, it’s also vital to keep them posted during the process.

Why? Outside of the fact that our team of excellent osteopaths in Melbourne genuinely care about the long-term wellbeing of all our clients, it’s common for athletes to ignore (usually unintentionally) minor symptoms of internal fatigue or stress, which can lead to significant injuries down the line.

A trained osteopath will be able to identify these issues, and will also be able to manage and heal them before they develop into anything serious, allowing you to focus on your running!

If you’re a runner, or an athlete, and would like to have a chat with the staff at Blackburn Osteopathy, call 03 9878 3122 right now for a consultation, or feel free to email us.  We’re here to help! We are passionate runners, and passionate about helping you prevent and treat any injuries you sustain from your running.

Dr Shane Heslop, Osteopath

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