When a runner gets injured, we all instantly think about rehab. What are you doing to recover? Strength? Stretching? Maybe some massage or self massage with something like a foam roller?
Instead of being reactive, why not be proactive? Before the injury happens, do some of that same work in order to avoid it in the first place.
Basically, prehab is what I just mentioned. It’s being proactive with rehab type activities. It’s doing the “little” things to take care of your body before getting injured instead of waiting to get injured, then doing those things.
What might prehab look like? Let me share with you my typical day’s prehab routine. Probably more than most people need but a good example of the breadth of activities one can do to take care of oneself in order to be proactive in reducing injury risk.
At the start of the day, I do some basic strength training. Just a quick workout but I make sure I hit the basics with exercises like body weight squats, donkey kicks and pushups. I keep the repetitions low so it’s very sustainable and literally something I can handle every day. It’s a great way to get some foundational strength.
After I do that strength training, I roll out my glutes and hamstrings (what I know to be my weak points) with a lacrosse style massage ball (I have a pair of Kieba massage balls I really like).
These two things take about 10 minutes combined and are a great way to start the day.
Before my run, I do a quick warmup routine. I loosen the muscles up with The Stick before doing some walking lunges and leg swings. The entire warmup routine takes less than 5 minutes and leaves me feeling much better to start out than if I skip it.
After my run, I do some static stretching for about 10 minutes.
I may do a more thorough strength training routine later in the day up to 2-3 times a week, though I admit I need to get better with that. To be honest, you can accomplish a lot with just your body weight for resistance and 15-30 minutes.
Before finishing off the day, I go over the legs with a foam roller (I have had a Trigger Point foam roller for over 3 years and it’s pretty much as good as new). Then I finish off with another round of the massage ball on the glutes and hamstrings. 5-10 minutes and I’m feeling much better as I finish off the day.
This all may seem like a lot. It is. I do more than most people would probably find necessary but it’s what works for me and it still only takes about 30 minutes out of my day. If you can commit 20-30 minutes a day to prehab, you could do a quick pre-run routine, some basic strength training, and some form of self massage every day. If you could give 20-30 minutes a day in order to reduce your injury risk, doesn’t that seem worth it?