Running with ProMotion - Key Tips for a Running Program

May 7th, 2024

Running with ProMotion - Key Tips for a Running Program

Running is one of the most popular sports and recreational hobbies around the world! Many of you may be runners yourselves or might know friends or family that enjoy running. There is a very wide array of runners, ranging from a recreational runner that enjoys an easy stroll on a trail or path, all the way to a competitive marathoner or ultramarathoner! Running is unique, in that the physical demands of running can be scaled or modified based on one’s physical ability.

It is critical to consider the importance of having a well-planned running program set in place when beginning to run. Whether you are a recreational runner looking to run a few times a week, or a competitive runner with an upcoming race on your schedule, following a well-designed program can help set you up for success. Running programs can help serve as guidelines to many individuals. This can help promote long term healthy running at optimal levels of performance.

A well-designed running program should be individually designed to meet the specific needs and demands of each individual runner based on their goals, life schedule, physical capabilities, running experience, and many more key factors. Proper nutrition, hydration, rest & recovery, and running shoe selection are other important factors that should not be dismissed.

Below are some Key Tips for a creating a running program:

Increase FREQUENCY and DURATION before Intensity -

  • Frequency refers to how often you run (ie: number of runs per week). Duration refers to how long your runs last (ie: minutes per run). Intensity refers to how "hard" the run is (ie: level of "effort" over a run).
  • When returning to running (after an injury or when building a running program), consider the number of runs per week and how many total minutes of running per week before focusing on "intensity."
  • It is recommended to be able to run/jog on non-consecutive running days at a "conversation" pace BEFORE adding intensity.

Pacing and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) -

  • Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE refers to the level of difficulty over a run. Pictured in the graphic above, this 0-10 scale helps runners to be able to gauge the intensity of a run based on their individual effort.
  • Running at a "conversation" pace should be a majority of any well-designed running program. This places most runs at the 2-3/10 on the scale above.
  • It is recommended to be able to consistently run at an RPE of 2-3/10 on nonconsecutive days before progressing to more intense efforts.

Green-Yellow-Red Light Scale

  • It is critical to have set boundaries and expectations in place when returning to running after an injury. Some discomfort can be normal when returning to running, but it is very important to differentiate what is normal or "acceptable" versus what is not. The Green-Yellow-Red light symptom monitoring scale serves to help guide a runner back into running while navigating an ache or pain.
  • The "safe" zone refers to symptoms within a 0-2/10 on the numerical pain scale. If symptoms are within this range, continue with your desired activity!
  • The "acceptable" zone refers to symptoms within a 3-5/10 on the numerical pain scale. If symptoms fall in this range, do not feel the need to immediately terminate your run. Rather, consider how your symptoms feel as the run continues. Do your symptoms increase above a 5/10? Do your symptoms return to a baseline level after the run? Would your symptoms allow you to complete a similar run within 48 hours? If so, we consider this "acceptable” but be sure to assess symptoms before your next run and with your running movement “snacks.”
  • The "excessive" zone refers to symptoms greater than a 5/10 on the numerical pain scale. If symptoms creep up into this range, we recommend backing off your running to focus on other factors. Perhaps an extra day of rest to focus on healing and proper recovery might be warranted. Finding other activities or running exercise "snacks" could serve as an appropriate replacement during this time as symptoms settle. A movement “snack” is a functional movement that helps to prepare you for more intensive activities. For example, a lateral toe tap, step down, or marching drill are all great “snacks” to practice that are specific to a runner!

These are some of the MANY key tips and important factors to consider when initiating a running program, especially when returning after a running related injury.

If you or a fellow runner are experiencing pain hindering you from running, we would love to work with you! Our team of clinicians at ProMotion is trained to work with runners of all backgrounds and abilities. We aim to keep you moving and physically active by continuing to engage in the activities that you enjoy doing while addressing your pain or concerns.

Contact us today if you would like to get started on the path to MOVING better, LIVING better, and RUNNING better!