PLATTSBURGH — Adequate preparation for running can help reduce the potential for injury, even for serious distance runners.
Dr. C. Philip Volk, a Plattsburgh orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, headlines an impressive list of speakers during a presentation on sports medicine for the serious runner at the Wellness Center at PARC Thursday evening.
“We’ll be addressing the needs of the advanced runner, but the program is open to anyone who enjoys running,” Volk said recently as he talked about the program titled “Keep Running.”
“People running 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, those are the people we’re looking to help,” he added. “It may also be a benefit to athletes who are getting back into running as they prepare for next fall’s sports season.”
Although seasoned runners have the experience to properly train for their upcoming events, Volk believes they can also pick up useful tips for improving their training schedules.
“Even when people are pretty confident with their running skills, I still see those people in my practice,” he said. “I treat injuries ranging from the first-time runner to the 20-year veteran. I don’t care what kind of runner, but every race season and sporting season, I see these kinds of injuries every year.”
Common running injuries include knee injuries, lower leg pain, foot and ankle injuries — including the ever-common plantar fasciitis, or pain along the bottom of the foot — and heat and skin injuries.
“A lot of times, people are training out of sequence, ahead of themselves, or they push too hard,” said Aimee Demers-Bourgeois, a physical therapist for CVPH Medical Center and a competitive runner. “Injuries can impact people all the way up to athletes training for the Iron Man.”
Demers-Bourgeois will join certified strength and conditioning specialist Theodore Santaniello and certified dietitian and nutritionist Kathleen G. Dupraw along with Volk for Thursday’s presentation.
“Sometimes athletes will clump too much activity close together,” she said. “They’ll compete in a marathon and then try to do a half marathon two weeks later. They know they can run the half marathon, but they need to give their body time to recover.”
The presentation will address issues on how to best prepare for distance running between each event, she noted.
Runners are also notorious for “working through” an injury, when that could enhance the injury and increase the time a person needs to recover.
“You need to recognize your own body,” Demers-Bourgeois said. “If you sense something is wrong, you need to have it looked at sooner rather than later.”
“If we can start treating it early on, we can get it under control,” Volk added. “If not, you might be out 10 to 16 weeks; the hardest thing for a runner to deal with is not being able to run.”
Each athlete and injury is different, he added; working on recovery programs is as individual as individual running styles.
The presentation will also analyze nutrition for runners, including simple dietary choices that can make a difference in a runner’s health and results.
The region has seen a dramatic increase in running events, especially fun runs used as fundraisers. Local runners are also traveling to participate in runs in other communities.
“Everybody can do it,” Demers-Bourgeois said. “You get very positive results with very little money put into it beyond a good pair of sneakers.”
Demers-Bourgeois has always been involved in athletics and staying fit. A few years ago, she decided to take up running because of the convenience it offered. Now, she runs as often as she can, and she has not experienced any running-related injuries to this point.