Try It: Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts

So you’re training for a spring race and need to get some quality speedwork in but it’s Wisconsin and it’s cold and dark and icy when you need to run. Times like these make it difficult to work up the motivation to train. But with a group of runners, the workout becomes that much easier.

The Badgerland Striders offer Tuesday night workouts at the Pettit National Ice Center throughout the winter months to help runners get faster while also having fun running with a group. Erin Smith, one of the workout coaches, tells us more about these workouts and what to expect if you decide to join in the fun!

Why did the Striders decide to start offering Tuesday evening workouts?

The workouts have been taking place in some capacity since summer of 2014. We wanted to provide a more structured running workout for our members. The workouts were originally only running based and we have just recently added in the functional strength portion.

Where are the workouts held and when? About how many people show up each week? The workouts are held Tuesday at 6:30pm. In the winter (December to March/April) we are indoors at the Pettit National Ice Center. In the summer (April to September) we are outside at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. We have about 30 people show up weekly. There is no need to register, just show up and be ready to go!

Take us through a typical workout …

A workout generally consists of 3 to 4 miles of hard running; which can be adapted depending on fitness level. We also include strength and conditioning exercises. There are also breaks so runners have a chance to recover between activities. A runner can expect to be at the workout for about an hour.

Why do you include strength and conditioning exercises as part of the workout?

Runner’s generally run because they love running not because they like doing burpees or squats. Adding in the functional strength helps to build the supporting muscles that many runners neglect, but in the long run will help them improve speed and endurance and, hopefully, prevent injury.

Who leads the workouts? How do you decide what type of workout to do each week?

The workouts are led by myself and Terri Bodden. We are both RRCA certified running coaches and have a passion for running and helping others achieve their running goals. For the winter workouts at the Pettit, we focus a lot on functional strength and maintaining a running base, but also pushing the pace a bit on the running part. In the summer months, we focus more on gaining speed.

Can runners of all abilities join or are these workouts better suited for more advanced runners?

The workouts are written with all ability levels in mind, and we adjust the workouts on the spot to make sure everyone is comfortable and gains something from the workout. I think for beginning runners and slower runners, the idea of this type of workout is intimidating. We make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

What type of running base would you suggest runners have before attending a workout?

While all ages and abilities are welcome, and we don’t turn anyone away, it is best if you can run a few miles before you join us.

Are the workouts geared toward a specific race distance?

The workouts are not geared toward a specific race distance. Each week is a different workout so it can help with any race distance that a person might be targeting, from the 5k to ultras.

What are the benefits of doing speed work with a group?

Any workout with a group helps provide accountability. You might not want to run, but you’ll go because you told your friend you would meet them there. Or you might not want to do the last set, but everyone else is so you do too. In most cases, people don’t regret either of these decisions. It’s also nice sometimes to just show up and have a coach tell you what to do for the workout. Everyone can suffer (I mean enjoy) together.

Thanks for chatting with us, Erin! For more information about the workouts, checkout the Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts Facebook Group.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

A Gift for Every Runner on Your List

Holiday shopping for the runner in your life can be a stressful, energy-zapping task. But this year, Performance Running Outfitters made things easy by providing gift ideas for every runner on your list – so you can spend more time running and less time shopping!

All items listed below can be found at Performance Running Outfitters!

Running Buddy:

Our running buddies make every mile go by a little bit faster. Say “thank you” with one of these great gifts, like the Believe or Compete Training Journal, with 52 weeks of space to detail workouts, or an insulated Hydroflask (keeps hot drinks hot up to 6 hours, cold drinks up to 24 hours). Even the most positive runner could use a little motivation, which is why we love Momentum wraps, with sayings like “Make It Happen” and “Run and Be Happy.” If you prefer running buddies of the four-legged variety, go hands-free with the Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner leash! And keep your buddy’s noggin nice and warm with a cute, fleecy pom beanie from Salomon!

New Runner:

Whether there’s a new runner on your list, or one coming back from a layoff, most runners could use some updated gear. Stay warm, dry, and visible with the Sugoi Zap jacket, with 360 degrees of visibility (available for men and women). Store the essentials with the Nathan Zipster belt, with two dry zippered pockets that can accommodate phones, keys, and more. Every runner needs socks, and we’ve got plenty! (Plus, all Feetures and Balega socks are Buy 3, Get 1 Free until 12/31/17!) There’s no need to worry about hydration on the run with an Amphipod handheld bottle, and we’ve got plenty of sizes to choose from. Have a racing fanatic on your list? Give them the gift of no more pin holes with Race Dots, the magnetic bib positioning system. And finally, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the perfect watch for new and veteran runners alike, with built-in GPS for running, cycling, swimming and more!

Stylish Runner:

Running gear isn’t exclusively for running anymore! Give the gift of style with some of our newest picks, including the New Balance Heat Route jacket (women’s only, but don’t worry, we’ve got some awesome jackets for men, too!) and Saucony Freedom Runner shoes (a lifestyle shoe with a running shoe midsole, so it’s soft and supportive). The Oiselle Lux Runfinity scarf is cute and warm, with soft buttery fabric that she’ll love! We also have a fresh crop of Stance Run socks for men and women, including the new tie-dye crew (pictured). And of course, no outfit is complete without a pair of Goodr polarized, non-slip sunglasses, with so many amazing color combinations that will make any runner happy!

Winter Weather Warrior:

Sub-zero temperatures don’t scare our Wisconsin winter warriors! Help your favorite runner stay warm, dry, and running all winter long with our favorites, including the Feetures Elite Merino crew-height socks, with just enough cushion and a whole lot of warmth. Every winter runner needs a good selection of do-it-all accessories, and that’s why we recommend the Craft hybrid glove, which can convert from gloves (with an e-tip) to mittens in a snap, and the Buff polar fleece neckwarmer, which can be converted from neckwarmer, to balaclava, to headband, to hat… you get the idea! Yaktrax Run traction devices will turn any regular running shoe into a grippy powerhouse, with a carbide spike plate and metal springs to provide traction. And of course, it’s all about the clothes! Stay warm with the Salomon Drifter jacket, made with Primaloft Eco Insulation (available for both men and women). This jacket is light enough to layer under a shell, but warm enough to tackle colder temperatures with ease. Winter runners will also love the Sugoi Sub-Zero Zap tight, with 360 degrees of reflectivity, phone-ready pockets, and a soft fleecy lining (available for men and women).

Thanks to Jess and Team at Performance Running Outfitters for all the great gift ideas!

Tell us: What’s on your wish list this year?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Setting and Achieving Running Goals

How’s everyone doing on those 2016 running goals?

In case you’ve hit a plateau or are looking for a little extra motivation to stick with your plan, we have Coach Matt Thull with ThunderDome Running with us today to provide a few tips on setting appropriate goals and then laying out a plan to achieve them.

Whether you hope to PR, tackle a new distance or just make it through the year without getting sidelined with an injury, Coach Thull has tips to make this year your most successful yet!


How do you recommend runners go about setting goals for the upcoming year?
The nice part about goals are that they are INDIVIDUAL. That individuality is awesome because of the flexibility of setting several different kinds of challenging goals for a training/racing year. The goal can be completing your first race of a certain distance or simply running a new PR at a different race distance. All lead to having more fun, running faster and moving toward your BIG down the road running goals. The right mix of attainable short-term goals versus time goals is way more fun than saying running a certain time or bust is the entire goal of a full year of training.

Why is it important for runners to set goals?
The short- and long-term goals get you out of bed and out the door each day. The progress you see on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is hopefully the motivation and positive momentum that keeps fueling the ambition to put in the work. In my training, I have daily goals and keep track of them in a running log, and when my ambition or confidence are low, I look back at the SMALL goals I have knocked out and know all of the small daily goals are contributing to the big goal months down the road. If all you look at is the big goal way in the future, there are too many opportunities for excuses and missed training. If a goal is 8 months down the road, you feel like you might be “allowed” to take more days off. With the small/short-term goals you have direction and motivation every single day to not be complacent.

Let’s address some of the most common goals. What steps do you recommend runners take if they want to set a new PR in 2016?
Having a plan is huge because a carefully laid out plan/schedule leads to consistency/injury-free training and stacking weeks of training, whether it is training for a 5k or a marathon, is the key to success. That positive training progression leads to more motivation and fun and that all leads to faster training and racing. In 2016, runners might have an overall mileage goal, to run their first 5k or marathon or to run PR’s … but all of those goals have pockets of important planning leading up to them, and when you have those short- and long-term goals on paper and planned out, the goal has a better chance of happening.


Plan out the number of days you can dedicate to your goal based on your life schedule. Training should not be stressful so put in the work but do all you can to balance everything you do each day. I like to look at things in my running planning as I “NEED” 1 day per week that I can set aside that all important time, focus, and energy to do a hard workout or long run, no matter what, and from there I work things around that key training day.

What about successfully racing a new distance – how can runners achieve this goal?
Tier your goals into categories of feeling good, finishing and finally a good, better and best case scenario time goal. It is more fulfilling and less pressure packed if you can have 2-3 race goals and those goals are NOT 100% finish time based. So many times runners racing a new distance (many times the half marathon or marathon) base the sole measure of success on the finish time. There are so many weekly goals to accomplish and just getting to the race starting line is a victory and pretty cool. The list of progressing goals is way more fun than having everything hinge on a finish time. Part of goal setting is being realistic but still pushing yourself. It’s a tricky balance and may include having fun training, running a certain amount of miles/weeks leading up to a race, getting to the start line healthy, and finally the BONUS goal is running a solid time in the race.


Some runners plan on increasing their mileage this year. What’s the best way to do this without risking injury?
What works really well before increasing running DISTANCE or adding an extra day of running per week is to use that extra day/time you will eventually run by adding in a cross training activity/day. Swim, bike, elliptical, yoga … something that is low impact to get your body/legs used to that extra day of activity/volume. After a month of that extra day and extra time cross training, add in an extra day of running. On the extra day of running measure things by completed minutes at first instead of MILES so you don’t have to worry about running a certain pace or become tempted to run too fast.

Runners that spent 2015 on the injured list may want to just focus on running healthy. What tips do you have for staying healthy and injury free?
Running is way more than just putting on your shoes and going for a run. Nutrition, sleep, stress management, taking days off, cross training and yoga are sometimes forgotten pieces of training. What leads to success earlier in running does not guarantee injury-free running in the future. Every single training block is different from the previous one so runners should constantly be looking to add or remove pieces of their training – this leads to continued fast running and preventing injuries. In my training, I never ever had the SAME training block leading up to a peak race – even if that peak race was a PR. The next training block had a different bit of strength/cross training work or different focus on recovery in it.

Are there any basics that all runners should do to help them run their best this year?
As everyone gets a bit more seasoned each year, it is that much more important to include cross training and weights/core to your routine, even if that means “giving away” some running miles or time dedicated to running. Consistent, injury-free running leads to more fun and faster times compared to having all the visits to the doc or PT to fix nagging pains. Gain your confidence and momentum from the things you do well in training and racing, but it is also OK to focus on things you need to shore up. Workouts and races are meant at times to be learning tools and more beneficial to overall training than the finish time you run. If you are lining up at every single race to “race it” for a time and that is all, then you are missing out on valuable learning opportunities to give you the best chance to run your best time down the road.

How can working with a running coach help runners have a better chance at achieving their goals?
When you are training hard, you are so emotionally involved and driven that you might not be doing the right things at the proper times of training. I can look back at some of my running logs when I coached myself, when I was in really good shape, and wonder why I did some wild workouts. What makes runners great is their drive and ambition along with stubbornness – but so many times those qualities are what lead to overtraining or injury. If you have a running schedule with guidelines, short-term goals or themes for a training week, there is no question what you “should” be doing. Every single day has a purpose, and runners can see that down on paper and know what to do and why. Coaches typically run themselves, have coached a wide range of runners and have studied the sport/training – that’s a pretty awesome array of experience.

Any other comments/tips?
Good luck to everyone in 2016. Get those goals written down on paper and keep a running log/journal. That journal is one of the biggest motivators out there. If you do something great in your training/racing it is right there on paper to see, but if you are skipping runs or workouts that is down on paper, too. The accountability factor of a running log or having a coach are huge.

Thanks for chatting with us, Coach Thull! To learn more about ThunderDome Running, or to inquire about coaching services, visit

Up next, find out how a love of running helped a few local runners find love. Read it here on Friday! Until then …

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Tackling the Mile: Training Tips and Racing Strategies

In our opinion, there aren’t nearly enough mile races. But it’s a distance every runner should race at least once. Even runners that usually stick to longer distances!

Below, Matt Thull from ThunderDome Running explains how racing the mile benefits long distance runners and provides training and racing tips!

What’s the allure of racing the mile? Why is this distance a great mix of speed and endurance?
Even though a mile race seems short to most distance runners, there are actually more running parts to the race than many runners think. I look at the mile as having three parts and knowing there are those different parts is how the endurance and speed combo comes into play. The length of time for the three parts is different for everyone. The first part is speed and getting out there fast when the gun goes off. Next is the middle of the race – the endurance part once you settle into your “fast” but controlled pace, which for most runners is a bit slower than the fast start. Last is the speed/sprint to the finish part of the race.

How should a person train for a mile race?
The luxury of training for this distance is that there are elements of mile race training already in most runners’ day-to-day training. For example, during long runs, runners get to a certain point where they are actually recruiting fast muscle fibers. If runners do pre- or post-run strides – or even fast-finish workouts – these can help with shorter distance racing. Those areas all produce faster mile race results – without necessarily training specifically for the distance.

Really not a lot needs to change for mile racing in training. A bigger focus is the warmup for the race. It’s crucial to include enough pre-race activity and stretching since there is no messing around once the gun goes off. Runners don’t have 2-3 miles to warmup during the race like they do during long distance races.

What is a good workout to include if a mile race is on your calendar?
When someone who is NOT a miler or short distance racer thinks about workouts, they should have safety nets in them related to the rest periods and fast work. For example, if a runner wants to test out some faster 400m or 200m intervals, make the workout continuous without any standing around rest. For example, run a 400m interval and then jog a short rest time. This helps prevent runners from going too fast. Or if there is a 3-4 mile continuous run, include a couple of 90 second surges spaced throughout the run. In that case, too, runners cannot get going too fast since there is no standing rest.

It seems like as the distances get shorter, the warmup becomes more important. What type of warmup do you recommend before a mile race?
Runners should finish with a faster warmup for a mile race. If you normally run two miles for a warmup, speed up during the second mile. It should be brisk. And the active warmup stretching and strides should easily be at least 15-20 minutes of focus, compared to what sometimes happens at 5k and 10k races where runners get caught standing around too long doing not a lot of warmup prep.

What about race strategy – how should a runner approach a mile race?
No matter what each individual’s pace or goal is in a mile, there have to be different pace parts and efforts. If you say you are going to race hard from the gun to the finish of a mile race, you miss out on the shorter focused parts that will result in a faster race.

What type of shoes do you recommend? Are regular shoes okay or should runners opt for lighter flats or trainers?
Most runners should NOT change up their regular training shoes to a lighter pair for a mile race unless they are used to a lighter workout or racing pair of shoes. Light racing flats work great but at the same time runners are moving much faster than they normally do so the extra cushion of a regular training shoe is safer. The best of both worlds are shoes that have extra cushion but are super light. Like the New Balance Fresh Foam, some of the Nike Lunar models or the HOKA shoes.

Why is it beneficial for even longer distance runners to consider racing the mile?
Too many times marathon and half marathon runners fall into the trap of running slower, more relaxed training mileage because they don’t think they are “fast.” Just having a fun mile race on the schedule can hopefully shift the focus and shake things up a bit to more stride/safe leg turnover work, faster finish long runs, or doing a proper warmup. All of which will also help the longer distance work.

Thanks for chatting with us, Coach Thull! If you’re interested in improving your speed, ThunderDome Running can help. Visit to learn more about coaching options.

If you’re ready to put your speed to the test, consider these upcoming events:

Best of luck!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Coach’s Advice: Take An End-Of-Season Break

Sometimes the most important thing you can do for your running is take some time off!

We recently chatted with Coach Matt Thull from ThunderDome Running, to find out if runners actually need a break after a goal race and the right way to take one. Plus, how to get started again after taking a few days or weeks off.

To get started, when we refer to taking a break, what exactly does that mean?
Most runners think of a break as easy running or just running every other day or just going gym or cross training stuff – that is not truly a break. The nice part about completing a big race or PR is that you have earned a step back/recharge period. So take your break so the next part of training can be even better.

During a break, you fully absorb your prior training, recover, and get to set new goals for the next block of training. The mental and physical toll leading up to a big race is huge – so before you get going on the next goal take five days off or take 14 days off – it is different for everyone. It is okay to train year round but just split up the training into different periods/training blocks/goals.

What are some of the consequences that can happen if a runner doesn’t take time off to recover between training cycles?
One of the big consequences of never taking a break is burning out or overtraining along with injury risks – which, in turn, lead to having to take off weeks to fully recover. Instead, take a mini break after a big race. I find that during the time off, you can always find a different activity (yoga, spin class) or a different stretch or exercise that you can incorporate into your next training period. When I was running 100-120 miles a week, I would set out to find a new activity, exercise, or some challenge that I would bring into the start of my new training. Those types of activities are sometimes hard to plug-in when you are going full speed ahead during normal training.

What’s a good amount of time to take off after a big race? Does this amount of time differ depending on the race distance?
It does depend on the race distance (more time for marathon and half marathon runners) and each individual runner, too. If a runner is training year round and has three different training cycles in their year, three different 7-10, 100 % day-off periods is typically a pretty safe routine to wrap up each season and to prepare for the next one.

If a runner is feeling good after a goal race, is a break necessary?
A runner might want to set up another race or two and ride out the training peak and wave of fast running they are on after a goal race. This happens a lot and leads to not only one PR but maybe two or three. A training break is then taken after you have exhausted those race options.

Both in my own training when I was running professionally on the US circuit and for my runners, I pose this simple question: “Do you want to PEAK right or run a PR for your next key race whenever that might be down the road”? If the answer is yes, then you need to take an end-of-season break. There are exceptions but the majority of runners fall into that category of needing an end-of-season break, however long that might be.

Sometimes when runners miss their race goal, they are tempted to keep training so they can make another attempt on their goal in a few weeks. What are your thoughts on this?
This is a situation where each runner’s past training and racing experience comes into play. Some marathon and half marathon runners can extend their training another two to four weeks and run a PR a month after when their PR or goal race might have been. Those make for awesome running stories and those examples happen a lot with the right planning. Each runner just needs to assess the “WHY” a race might not have gone to plan and decide if it was something that can be “FIXED” immediately and the season can be extended with another race or two.

Is it ever appropriate for a runner to keep training at the same intensity after a big race?
Many times a runner can run a marathon and then extend their season to include a fast 5k or 10k. Many times, if you watch you recovery closely after the marathon, you can run really well in the 5k/10k races and then take your end-of-season break.

When runners are ready to start training again after a break, what’s the best way to get back into it?
That first week back is always that time when you are antsy to get back out there and run fast because you are rested. When you start back running, use your usual routes that you like to run where you know the distances. Instead of being married to the GPS, you can allow yourself to just run by minutes and time instead of being worried about pace and distance. That allows for a very nice ease back into things. Most running injuries happen during the first month of dedicated training – so that caution of easy pace and not pushing too much too early, helps keep runners healthy that first month back building up mileage again.

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt! If you’re interested in learning more about coaching services through ThunderDome Running, you can connect here:




What’s next, you ask? Coming soon, we’ll feature more local runners and highlight a few upcoming races. You won’t want to miss any of it 😉

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Preventing Common Running Injuries

Anyone who has suffered a running injury knows – preventing them is far easier than treating them! Below, Calvin Deutsch, a Sports Physical Therapist with Deutsch Physiotherapy Co., offers tips to help prevent running injuries.

This is Part 3 in his series about running injury treatment and prevention. You can read his previous articles here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

What exercises do you recommend to help prevent running injuries?
Yes. I’ve put together a Videos page on my website that includes all of them.!videos/c1h1x

These exercises hit three main components of running injuries: mobility, neuromuscular strength/control and muscle management.

What pre- and post-run stretches do you recommend runners do to help prevent injuries?
There is a wide variety of pre- and post-run activities. In general, make sure to include a 5-10 minute dynamic warmup and a 5-10 minute cooldown/stretch period.

The main focus of a pre-run program is to generally and literally warm up your body, get your heart and lungs going and prepare your joints/muscles for the activity you are about to perform. There are large variations in dynamic warmups and most of them are ok – you can’t really go wrong.

Follow this link for a pretty good example of a basic warmup:

The main purpose of a post-run or cooldown program should be to gradually reduce the stress to your heart, lungs, muscles and joints, in addition to allowing clearance of acidic byproducts produced during your run. A large amount of ‘next day soreness’ can be reduced through incorporation of a simple five-minute cooldown.

Traditional static (hold for 30 sec) stretching is best to perform as part of a post-run program to take advantage of the susceptibility of warm muscles to a lengthened position. (Think of heated plastic that cools to a mold). Simple stretching of your calf, hamstrings, quads and hips are good and can be accomplished a variety of ways.

General incorporation of a pre- and post-run program yields high return on time investment and is part of managing your total running plan. Each runner’s plan should involve running, a pre/post-run program and therapeutic elements. The therapeutic elements may include mobility and strength exercises as well as muscle management via foam rolling or similar devices. The actual running part is what we want to spend the most time on and when time is at a premium we think we don’t want to ‘waste’ it on warmup, cooldown, etc. When this view is tweaked to understand that the actual running is only part of the whole program, then the injury risk goes way down and we see happier, healthier runners.


Are there any other steps runners can take to help prevent injuries?
The biggest recommendation I have is for each runner to make sure that they are headed down the right path via a basic evaluation. You can find 100 stretches and 200 strength exercises and tons of other things to do for each injury or issue you face when you search online or talk to friends. I see a fair amount of consistency with injuries but each injury for each runner is a little different, and the mixture and timing of certain exercises and treatments in the right order seems to be the key. It’s just like ingredients and recipes – you need to mix the ingredients the right way to get the desired product of the recipe.

So a basic initial evaluation or assessment is crucial to outline a personal injury prevention or performance plan. We have all had our share of injuries, aches and pains over the years and those things leave a footprint on our biomechanics. Our daily lives are all a bit different and that has a large effect on our exercise functionality. Finding a good person to perform this evaluation is very helpful and serves as a good resource for future concerns or questions.

I see a lot of patients that have minimal or no real injuries, but they come in 4-10 times per year to ensure that they are doing everything they need to do, keep their muscles healthy and fine-tune their biomechanics.

Of course I’m biased to seeing a good physical therapist who knows a lot about athletes and running, but a good personal trainer, massage therapist, chiropractor or athletic trainer are usually good people to look for and maintain contact with.

Thanks so much for all the great information, Calvin! For more information on  running injuries or for answers to specific questions, you can connect with Calvin here:



Phone Number: 414-395-1079

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

What Causes Running Injuries?

Understanding what causes common running injuries is the first step in preventing them. Below, Calvin Deutsch, a Sports Physical Therapist with Deutsch Physiotherapy Co., explains common causes of running injuries.

This is Part 2 in his series about running injury treatment and prevention. You can read Part 1 here:

What are some of the most common reasons runners get injured?
The number one reason I think runners get injured is loss of mobility/flexibility somewhere in their body that drives some type of compensatory reaction somewhere else. A perfect example is how low back and hip stiffness mixed with mild overstriding can cause IT Band Syndrome. The IT Band is put on repetitive excessive tension because the hip/low back cannot move appropriately at the end of the stride and it is only a matter of time before that runner develops outer knee pain. Another example is loss of ankle mobility causing overpronation at the foot which will result in a number of issues including Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis

Follow this link to see good video examples of mobility exercises:!videos/c1h1x

Hip Flexor Stretch
Prone Press Up
Ankle Mobility

The number two reason is weakness, primarily of the hips. Performing the right strength exercises can remedy this deficit, but it takes time. Weak hip muscles allow excessive motion of the leg during the landing phase and this can cause repetitive strain to the back, hip, knee and lower leg.

Follow this link to see good video examples of strengthening exercises:!videos/c1h1x

Hip/Trunk strengthening

Third would be simple training errors. This includes improper progressions in mileage, inappropriate speed/track/hill workouts, lack of variation in training route, etc.

The biggest thing to understand about injuries is that exercise is a balance between tissue damage and repair. Exercise therapeutically micro-damages your muscles, tendons and bones. This damage stimulates your body to repair and improve itself by building bigger muscles and tendons that can handle more strain and build stronger denser bones. Balancing your training load with active recovery strategies is fundamental.

Can you talk a bit about the roles that diet, sleep and stress play in running injuries?
Diet, sleep and stress are fundamental elements for any person and even more relevant for an athlete.

I used to view food as primarily fuel and always thought that your diet’s main purpose was to provide energy. As I obtained my education, I came to understand food as not only fuel, but as the literal building blocks of tissue health, repair and sustainability. There is no way that your muscles, bones and other systems can function at a high level within the context of a bad diet.

Sleep is an integral part of our daily lives and many of us do not get enough of it. Outside of mood, emotional state, level of focus, concentration, attention, etc., sleep will have an impact on other physiologic functions such as heart rate, metabolism, cell function and so on. We continue to see emerging research on how sleep is necessary for athletic performance in addition to living a happy life.

I’ve had many patients turn to running as their main stress relieving activity. So when they get injured they really depend on me to help get their life back in order. Physiologic and psychologic stressors are necessary to have optimum functioning systems. Whether it may be a resistance training program or a needy boss, we need to stress ourselves in order become better. You will not become faster if you don’t push your limits, just as you won’t be comfortable handling stressful situations if you haven’t had the opportunity to practice handling psychologic stress.

Follow this link to a fantastic Ted Talk about how viewing your stress as a helpful thing can change the physiologic impact of your stress:

So the goal would not be eliminate stress, but understand how it can affect us and how we can harness its positive effects.

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about how many running injuries stem from weak hips/glutes. What can runners do to strengthen these areas of the body?
Yes, weak gluteals can cause a number of different issues for runners and many other athletes. We saw some good academic research come out in the early 2000’s about this and it unfortunately takes about 10 years for that to hit the general public.

Your hip muscles steer your whole leg. If those muscles are strong and your brain can fire them in concert with other key muscle groups of the lower leg, thigh and trunk, then your leg will be stabilized. If those muscles are weak, or not well coordinated with other muscle groups, then your leg will not be stabilized and that will cause excessive motion within the leg resulting in the potential for a number of injuries.

Follow this link to see good video examples of strengthening exercises:!videos/c1h1x

Hip/Trunk strengthening

In general, you want to activate your gluts in a running specific or single-leg scenario while simultaneously activating trunk muscles. Ideally, heavier strengthening periods should coordinate with lighter mileage periods as to control the total level of strain to your body.

Thanks so much for all the great information, Calvin! For more information on other running injuries or for specific questions, you can connect with Calvin here:



Phone Number: 414-395-1079

Stay tuned, runners! Calvin will provide a third post about running injury prevention in the next few weeks.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Treatments for Common Running Injuries

Show us an injured runner and we’ll show you a frustrated runner!

Run long enough and you’ll likely be sidelined with an injury at some point. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get back to the roads, trails and track.

Below, Calvin Deutsch, a Sports Physical Therapist with Deutsch Physiotherapy Co., explains how to treat some of the most common running injuries.

What are some of the most common running injuries?

The most common running injuries have to do with the knee joint. About 45 percent of all running injuries are associated with the knee, thus the myth that running is “bad for you knees”. The odd part is that most of these knee injuries are not a fault of the knee itself, and running is not bad for your knees. The knee joint is simply sandwiched between the hip and the foot/ankle, so many abnormal forces from above and below make their way to the knee and produce some type of pain. This underscores the importance of evaluating and treating each patient’s whole leg and trunk when working with most running injuries.

Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome, Patellar Tendonitis and IT Band Syndrome are the most common injuries at the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain), Achilles Tendonitis, lower leg muscle overuse and some hip issues round out the bulk of running injuries. About 5 to 8 percent of running injuries involve repetitive stress, i.e. stress fractures. There are also a wide range of foot conditions and some infrequent back problems that can present when running.

Nearly 70 percent of runners will suffer an injury at some point in their running career. So this means that either running is a higher injury risk sport, we are doing a bad job to promote/follow injury prevention programs, our daily lives are becoming less conducive to successful running (long-term postural adaptations due to prolonged sitting) . . . or a combination of all the above.

Small effective interventions can go a long way for runners, so there is huge potential to follow proven injury prevention/performance programs that create a high return on investment for runners.

Can you talk a bit about the symptoms and treatment for these injuries?

Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome
This is just a fancy Latin name for “Knee Cap Pain”, so it is pretty easy to diagnose when the patient points to their knee cap and says, “It hurts here”.


Symptoms: Pain anywhere around the knee cap can be sharp or stabbing at times, usually occurring upon landing during running, negotiating hills/stairs, getting up/down from chairs, squats or lunges. Mild swelling can occur around the knee cap region and patients usually describe the pain as “under the knee cap”.

Treatment: Local anti-inflammatories are helpful (icing the painful area) and NSAIDS (Ibuprofen) but these things do not address the cause of the problem.
Evaluation of each runner’s hip strength and mobility are very important and might lend a treatment program towards hip/trunk strengthening or improving the mobility of the hip/lower back. Your hip muscles control rotation of the long thigh bone (femur) which makes up the top half of the knee joint. If this bone rotates too far, it alters the interaction of the knee cap joint, causing higher forces over a small surface area (PAIN). So the correct hip/trunk strength exercises when indicated can correct this and alleviate the problem in most cases.

Follow this link for some great examples of runner specific hip/trunk strengthening:

Foot and ankle factors can also be present. Namely, excessive pronation causing the same rotational issue at the knee. Current research supports a greater influence from the hip than the foot/ankle, however I have seen both areas clinically relevant. Footwear selection is very important and full-length inserts can be helpful in some cases.

Some training errors can tease this problem to the surface, mainly hill work or stairs, in which corrections in the training program can then be helpful.

Patellar Tendonitis
This means inflammation of the Patellar Tendon, which sits below the knee cap and anchors into the top of the shin bone.

Symptoms: Pain below the knee cap which can be described as burning or aching. This is made worse by running, jumping, stairs/hills, getting up/down from chairs, squats, or lunges. Swelling is more likely here and the tendon can be very tender to the touch making kneeling difficult.

Treatment: Local anti-inflammatories, as mentioned above, are also helpful here to help with symptoms. A patellar tendon strap can help with force dispersion at the tendon’s insertion into the shin bone, but is only a band-aid to the problem. As with patellar-femoral pain, similar factors at the hip and lower back need to be evaluated to determine the real cause of the issue. Quad muscle strengthening can be helpful, but needs to consist of the right exercises introduced at the right time. Runners should not do seated knee extensions while they have patellar tendonitis as this will directly strain an already over-strained tendon. Incorporation of the right hill work, squat, lunges, etc, when introduced at the right time can be helpful.

IT Band (Friction) Syndrome
Symptoms: Sharper pain or rubbing/snapping sensation at the outer—>front of the knee. This pain is usually worse at a specific point in the stride, occurring when the knee is bent about 35-40 degrees (landing or lift-off of the leg). It can also be pain full with getting up/down from the floor, squats, lunges, etc.

IT Band SyndromeTreatment: Again, local anti-inflammatories can help. ITB strap or taping can help with symptoms only. Mobility of the hip and low back, as well as strength of the hip, are crucial to normal function of the IT Band during running and are common causes to the problem.

Follow these links to see good video examples of hip and low back mobility exercises.

Foam rolling the thigh and the hip, in addition to footwear and altering your training route (avoidance of running on the same side of a cambered road every time) are also important. Lastly, cadence is very relevant here and improving your foot strikes per minute can be beneficial.

Follow this link to see how to use a foam roll on your thigh:

Plantar Fasciitis(osis)
This means inflammation/breakdown of the Plantar Fascia, which is a connective tissue at the bottom of the foot that anchors into the heel bone. This tissue helps support the arch and gets abused when the arch is collapsing for one reason or another.

Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms: The hallmark complaint is pain at the bottom of the heel with the first few steps in the morning, or after a prolonged period of sitting. This pain can be sharp and will cause a limp.

Treatment: Local anti-inflammatory treatment to help pain, however this problem is no longer thought to be an inflammatory issue, so it is most likely that icing helps to reduce pain or surrounding fat pad irritation. Footwear or insert selection can make a big change in symptoms. There is not any evidence for custom vs. over-the-counter orthotics at this point, but I have found results with either dependent on the patient. Rigid night splinting is well supported in the research, but can be inconvenient to use. Improving ankle, hip and low back mobility, calf stretching, and foam rolling the back of the lower leg can be very helpful.

Follow these links to gain ankle mobility and use a foam roll to the lower leg;

As with all running overuse injuries, your training plan and weekly-monthly-annual mileage plan is very important. Many times, I will spend as much time with a patient talking about mileage quality and quantity as we will on items specific to their injury.

Many overuse injuries start slowly, with mild symptoms at the onset and finish of a run. As the injury progresses, the symptoms last longer at the beginning and show up earlier at the end of the run. Finally, symptoms are present with non-running activities.

It is not advised to run through any symptoms that have become consistent and more frequent. This is a sign of a problem that will only build as you continue to run, costing more time, effort, energy, and money to figure out.

Thanks so much for all the great information, Calvin! For more information on other running injuries or for specific questions, you can connect with Calvin here:



Phone Number: 414-395-1079

Stay tuned, runners! Calvin will provide a second post about running injury prevention in the next few weeks.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!