How to Protect Your Neck and Back During Marathon Training
Running isn’t just your hobby or a healthy habit, it’s part of who you are. Enjoyment is found when you lace up your running shoes, put in your earbuds and GO! Excitement builds up as you get closer to crossing that finish line.
Dr. James Zaslavsky, First State’s Spine cervical spine expert, loves to run and understands the importance of protecting the spine from injury when running. Posture is a huge part of prevention of pain in the neck, upper back, and lower back. Train safer and run better by keeping these things in mind:
Head Up and Chest Forward
Keep your head high and chest out. Focus your eyes on the horizon. This will keep your cervical spine centered over your body and significantly reduce the impact of running.
Shoulders Back and Relaxed
Long runs cause stress on our bodies and our reaction is to tense up our shoulders, causing them to raise towards our ears. Take a deep breath and shake them out to make sure shoulders are relaxed and kept in line with your hips to alleviate tension.
Pump your arms, keeping them at a 90-degree angle and close to your body. This will improve efficiency while you run.
Relax Your Grip
Your fists should not be clenched while running. This causes unnecessary tension on your arms, shoulders and neck muscles.
Strengthen Your Core
Core strengthening is a vital part of training safer and running better.
Keep your pelvis and lower back stable by drawing your navel in towards your spine. This helps stabilize your core muscles and supports your spine.
Maintaining good posture isn’t the only way to train safely and run better. Other important tips can be found in our Tips for Long Distance Runners blog which includes:
- Stretching Your Hips
- Focus on Proper Footwear
- Hinge at the Hip
- Lumbar Stability
Please keep in mind during training that pain should never be ignored. If you have back pain or back problems, make an appointment with one of First State Spine’s specialists.