How to Return to Running, and Run Further and Faster Than You Ever Have

Are you a runner who wants to improve performance and prevent injuries to keep running for years to come? If so, you are like many of the runners that we met last night at our community engagement event last night at one of our local run clubs, and we see many people just like you in our clinic every day.

At the running event last night, we taught runners how to perform a self-assessment to reveal any weaknesses or imbalances that they have that may lead to decreased performance and/or injury. I think that every runner should know these tools, and want to share so that more runners can stay fit, healthy, and run for years to come!

The first self-assessment tool is standing on one leg.

Can you stand on one leg with eyes open for ten seconds? Can you stand on one leg for ten seconds with your eyes closed? Try this on your left and right side. Is there a difference between sides? This is very important because 40 percent of walking is done on one leg, and closer to 90 percent of running is done on one leg. Your body should feel strong and stable standing still on one leg as a foundation to feeling strong and stable while moving on one leg.

Not being able to stand on one leg for ten seconds while still means that you may not be as stable as you could be while running. This means that your body is using unnecessary energy to stabilize you, leading to decreased performance. If you have pain with running, this could be a reason why.

Many runners who come to us with foot pain or knee pain are unable to pass this single leg stance test.

When I first started working here at LeBauer Physical Therapy, I was one of those people! I had been a runner and soccer player my whole life, but went for a 4-5 mile run in Central Park one day on vacation, and had experienced knee pain ever since. It even bothered me when walking, which I had never experienced before. I had decided to give up running, because I had been to physical therapy before, and it had not worked for me, and I did not want to try again. We hear similar stories from people like you all of the time. Stories like, “I have bad knees, I can’t run,” or, “my knee hurts when I run, but I just push through because it isn’t that bad, it could be worse, so I don’t do anything about it,” or, “I tried physical therapy and it didn’t work for me.”

Knees aren’t bad, your knees are strong, and you do not need to be in excruciating pain to seek help!

Running is actually good for your knees! It makes them stronger, and can help prevent and treat arthritis. And just because physical therapy did not work for you one time, doesn’t mean that it will never work. It’s like saying, “I ate at restaurant and it gave me food poisoning, so I am never eating at restaurant again!” There are many different types of restaurants, just like there are different types of physical therapy.

That’s what I needed, I needed a different type of physical therapy.

Physical therapy did not work for me in the past because the physical therapist did not know about my sport, and he only looked at where I was feeling pain instead of looking for the cause of the problem. I needed a physical therapist who knew my sport, and who would look at the whole body to find the cause of the problem, instead of treating my pain with band aid fixes.

When I started working here, Dr. LeBauer heard me say that I couldn’t run because of knee pain, and he asked me, “well if you did not have knee pain, would you want to run?”. And I said, “Of course, I love running because it is a way for me to be outside, and I can be active anywhere in the world, and it doesn’t require equipment.” This is an answer that we hear all of the time from people who have given up on running. I am so glad that Dr. LeBauer challenged my thought that I couldn’t run. He found that the cause of my knee pain was my hip, I couldn’t stand on one leg because my hip was not stabilizing me well, and I had also never gone to physical therapy for multiple ankle sprains growing up, and had not rehabbed properly.

After I worked on the treatment plan that Dr. LeBauer made for me, I was able to return to running, and am now trail running anywhere between 3-10 miles! If you are someone who thinks that you cannot run because of your knee pain, I am here to tell you that with the right help, you can.

Maybe this doesn’t sound like you. You aren’t in pain, but you are not running as fast or maybe as far as you would like to.

We have a patient now who had knee surgery after an accident years ago. Since then, he has been able to run, but he is slower than he used to be, and wants to run a mile in under 5 minutes. He also could not pass the standing on one leg test, and we have been working on the cause of his problem, which was different than my problem, and have been seeing progress ever since. Every body is different, and just because you don’t pass the single leg stance test, doesn’t mean that you have a hip problem like me. It might be something else, which is why it is so important to get evaluated by a movement expert in a Total Body Diagnostic. That’s how this patient found us, and he has made consistent PR’s since coming to see us, and is so close to reaching his 5 minute mile goal!

So you might be asking, what is a Total Body DIagnostic? A Total Body Diagnostic is a chance for you to meet with a Physical Therapist here at LeBauer Physical Therapy, and talk more about your goals, and what is holding you back from reaching them. The PT will then perform a head to toe movement assessment to find the cause of your issue, and develop a treatment plan to help you reach your goals!

If this sounds like something that you need, click HERE to apply for one of our FREE total body diagnostic visits, or give us a call at 336-271-6677 to see if you qualify!

About The Author

Dr. Kaitlin Herzog

Dr. Herzog attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She went on to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Wheeling Jesuit University. Kaitlin has been an athlete for most of her life and was introduced to physical therapy when she had several sports-related injuries. She decided to become a physical therapist to help others maintain an active lifestyle while staying pain free. Kaitlin uses a hands-on approach to help people of all backgrounds optimize their movement and performance. Dr. Herzog is a record-holding competitive powerlifter, and you can find her training or competing in her spare time. She also enjoys Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, yoga, sports, hiking, baking, crafts, traveling, and exploring Greensboro with friends.​

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