According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, "Prehabilitation (Prehab) aims to reduce the risk of injury occurrence." In other words, Prehab is taking an active approach to injury prevention by addressing problem areas before they develop into a serious, sidelining injury.
Like any new fitness program, it's essential to be adequately assessed by a sport's specific medical practitioner. Typically, your first visit should be with a physical therapist, sports chiropractic, or athletic trainer that can adequately assess your current level of function. These professionals will walk you through a series of physical tests to evaluate for areas of imbalance or weakness. Imbalances in the body can cause overuse injuries or severe injury if left unattended.
Why Runners Need to Prehab?
Running requires consistency to make improvements with time, distance, and pace. As you get stronger, your body demands will increase, and the chances of developing aches and pains when running. Muscle weakness, imbalances, and some preexisting conditions may be the root cause of these injuries related to running.
How to Begin a Prehab Routine
We advise that any prehab program begins with the consultation of a trained medical professional with experience in running. They should be able to analyze gait patterns to spot differences from left to right. From the ground, up he or she should recognize any anomalies in footfall, the positioning of hips, posture, and arm swing while running. Additionally, this professional may assess mobility, flexibility, and strength to determine the best type of individualized programming for the runner.
Prehab programs for runners often emphasize core strength and unilateral support, and mobility movements. These programs must also evolve as the runner continues to develop due to the body's changing demands.
How to Incorporate Prehab into Your Training
Prehab routines may be completed during the warm-up or cool-down portion of a run.
On a rest day, a runner might be prescribed a short routine to focus on active recovery.
A medical practitioner may ask a runner to complete a focused strength routine at the gym while incorporating weighted movements.
Regardless, taking an active approach to your training by including a prehab routine may help you run further and faster and increase your chances of reaching the finish line successfully.