MossRehab Expert Offers Advice for Runners

JUNE 8, 2013
MossRehab physical therapist John Feeley shared his wisdom on running as part of a panel at the Be Well Philly Boot Camp on June 8. He also provided individual consultations at the MossRehab Runner’s Clinic throughout the day.

MossRehab was a sponsor of the event.

Feeley, a runner himself, provides physical therapy and related advice to athletes, and is part of an effort to offer an ongoing Runner’s Clinic based on the expertise and research at MossRehab.

Here is some of the advice John offered:

On getting the right running shoes …

You don’t have to buy the top-of-the-line running shoe. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for them. Go to a running store - they will help you get the right one.

On transitioning from a treadmill to the track or road …

Make a slow transition. A treadmill is easier on the joints. The mechanics change a little bit when you run on the road, which can lead to injuries. When running on a treadmill you don’t use the muscles you will use when running up and down an incline. Runners have specific exercises they need to do in the gym beyond the treadmill. 

On staying motivated …

Success breeds motivation. When you reach one of your goals - to finish a 5K or finish a half marathon - once you do that you [want to keep going.]

On what to do the morning of the race …

Don’t do anything new the morning of the race. To me what is more important probably is sleep. I always found that you should make sure you get a good night sleep two nights before. I know many times when I am racing I will be tossing and turning all night long the night before but I made sure to get a good night’s sleep two nights before just knowing that it was going to be a little bit rocky the night before the race.

On what to do after the race …

When you get to the end, don’t sit down right away. It’s bad for the heart. Make sure you don’t just collapse. Keep walking around. You want to make sure you continue to drink fluids. One thing about recovery - you’ll recover a lot faster if you did the right training ahead of time.

On stretching before running … 

What you really want is an active warm up. You don’t want to stretch. You want to do things that cause the body temperature to increase and increase the elasticity of the muscles. It is always better to start out with a walk, and do your stretching afterwards.

Here are five exercises offered by MossRehab to improve running form:

Single Limb Standing

Purpose: Improve balance

Stand in front of a mirror on one leg. Your toes (especially your big one) must stay on the ground. Make sure you are not raising or lowering the inside arch of your foot. Make sure the rest of your body is not wobbling around. If you can complete this task for 30 seconds try the same exercise with your eyes closed. Can add difficulty by standing on a pillow or cushion.

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Toe Lift

Purpose: Foot arch strengthening

Stand with both feet on the ground. Push your big toes into the ground and try to lift your little toes. Now try and lift your big toe without lifting your little toes. Alternate between the two movements.

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Doorway Stretch

Purpose: Stretching the hip flexors 

To stretch your right hip flexor: kneel down close to a door frame with your right knee in line with the door frame and your left forward in front of you. You back should be on the door frame. Flatten your back against the door frame. You should feel a stretch in your right hip flexor.

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Single Limb Partial Squat

Purpose: Improve functional control

Tie a piece of theraband above yor knees. Stand on one leg (left) with your other leg (right) slightly out to the side. Rotate your hip (left) outwards against the band so that your foot arch raises slightly from the floor. Bend the leg you are standing on (left) to around 60 degrees and straighten. Make sure that your knee (left) is in line with your second toes. Make sure that your trunk is stable.

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The Marching Bridge

Purpose: Gluteal strengthening

Lie on your back with your knees hip-width apart. Lift your bottom off the floor. Now lift one leg an inch off the ground. Make sure you are not rotating or dropping your pelvis. Return your foot and repeat on the other side.

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