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How to Prepare for the Upcoming Running and Cycling Season

As the warmer weather approaches, are you itching to dust off your running shoes or bike and hit the trails? We want to make sure that we help you get off on the right foot for the upcoming running and cycling season. One of the most common mistakes that people make as the weather gets warmer is that after taking off or significantly decreasing their miles over the winter, they are so excited to hit the trails that they start off too fast, too soon. This can often lead to aches/pains or injury, which then hinders your training and preparation for the season.

In this blog, I will outline 4 keys areas that are not only important to help prevent injury in endurance sports like running and cycling, but also help you improve your performance. Getting a head start by working on these areas can give you an edge on your competition and help keep you healthy throughout the season. The videos below specifically discuss the roles these areas can play in runners and cyclists dealing with back pain; however, they apply to more than just back pain. They can also have an impact on lower body injuries and your overall performance. The 4 areas we will cover are:

  1. Hip Mobility

  2. Core Stability

  3. Lateral Stability

  4. Thoracic Mobility

Each video will outline why these areas are important for runners and cyclists, provide you with easy self assessment tools, and demonstrate some great go-to corrective exercises. I would recommend that you perform the self assessments to see where you are currently for your hip and thoracic mobility and use the corrective exercises as part of your warm-ups or cross training days.

Hip Mobility

Hip mobility is a key factor for all runners and cyclists. A lack of hip mobility or discrepancies in hip mobility right to left can not only lead to pain, but also inefficiency in running and cycling mechanics. Check out this video to learn an easy hip mobility screen that you can do to self assess your hip internal and external rotation. We then give you 1 stretch that addresses each motion, so you can start incorporating these into your warm-up and cross training routines to address your hip mobility deficits.

Core Stability

As you may know, core stability is a key component for all types of activities and movements. It plays an important role in not only decreasing your risk of injury, but also improving performance. This video will demonstrate 2 core stability exercises that you can incorporate into your cross training routines and they are great for runners and cyclists because they...

  • Train core stability with leg movements

  • Focus on anti-rotation

  • Improve efficiency and power output

Lateral Stability

An area that is often ignored by runners and cyclists is lateral stability. Both activities require movement in the sagittal plane (ie - flexion/extension, forward/backward), but very little lateral or sideways movements are occurring. However, movements in the frontal plane (ie - abduction/adduction, side to side) are key to helping stabilize for forward motions such as running and cycling. Also, during fatigue, improper movements can come into play and unintentional lateral movements can happen, leading to decreased efficiency in your mechanics. For these reasons, it is important to both strengthen and stabilize side to side movements. Check out these 2 exercises to help improve your lateral stability and running/cycling mechanics.

Thoracic Mobility

Last but not least, let's take a look at the role of thoracic mobility. Chances are, you have experienced poor mid-back posture whether that be from sitting at work or even while riding your bike or during a run. These prolonged postures can lead to pain over time. While it is important to develop a strong core to strengthen the mid-back (Yes, your mid-back is part of your core!), it is also important to maintain mobility in this area. In cycling, we often see riders in a rounded position, which is called flexion. With running, we are more likely to see an arched back, which is called extension. Both of these issues can result from a lack of thoracic mobility. In this video, we provide you with a self assessment tool to measure your thoracic rotation and 2 exercises that are great for improving thoracic mobility. Again, you can incorporate these exercises into your warm-up or cross training routines.

Wrapping Up

As you are preparing for the upcoming running and cycling season, we hope that these self assessment tools and corrective exercises get your season off on the right foot. We hope that by incorporating these exercises into your warm-up and cross training routines, you will stay healthy throughout the season and also notice an improvement in your performance. If you are someone who has battled a recurring injury during your seasons or you are looking to jumpstart your season, reach out to us today and ask us about our Jumpstart Running and Cycling Programs. With these programs, you get:

  • Personalized Movement and Performance Assessment from Kassi, our Doctor of Physical Therapy

  • Individualized Treatment Sessions to address your specific needs and goals

  • Customized Recovery or Performance plans to help you achieve your goals

Call or text 515-985-9038 or send an email to to learn more about our Jumpstart Running and Cycling Programs.

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