Running Talk – Can We Run Without Getting Injured?

So the short answer is probably no, most of us would get injured eventually. But… there is an interesting discussion to have along the way and we can maybe reduce the risk of injury.

On Friday 22nd February 2019, I will be giving a talk at Northallerton Leisure Centre, where I will discuss running injuries and how we might reduce them. Including:

  • Training,
  • Footwear,
  • Gait retraining,
  • and more.

If you would like to attend the cost is £5, 100% of which will be donated to the British Heart Foundation (via the Rock Up In Red Ball), to help some good friends of mine in their fundraising efforts. Please let me know if you are going via the event page on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2293992394194531/?active_tab=discussion

5 Tips to Running Your 1st 10k

The Northallerton 10k is just over two weeks away and for many it will be there first 10k. To help you prepare for the event I asked Josie to write 5 tips to preventing running injuries. The event is already full, but there will be limited entries on the day. We will be there on the day providing taping, massage and advice pre and post race, near the start/finish on the high street in Northallerton.

Training for a 10K? – Tips to prevent injury. 

Are you preparing to run your first 10K but not sure about how to do so safely? Well you have come to the right place. Below is 5 of the most common mistakes and misconceptions people make when training for a running event:

1 – Failing to warm up and cool down

It is so easy to forget or neglect to warm up and cool down before going out for a run. Warming up is vital to help prepare your body for the stress it is going to be put under when running. I would recommend a gentle jog then completing the lunge matrix, calf raises and leg swings, to get your muscles prepared. Not only will you find the warm up will help prepare your body for the training session it will also allow you to get in the right mind set for the run ahead. Cooling down after the run will allow you to gradually reduce your heart rate back to normal and stretch out you muscles.

Lunge matrix – (Credit: Coach Jay Johnson).

2 – Incorrect footwear

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A lot of you (including myself) may have a trusty pair of trainers which you have worn to death but just can’t seem to part with them. When our trainers start to wear out they lose the shape and support which we need to prevent injury when running.

When it comes to choosing some new trainers I understand there are many different types and deciding which ones are best for you can be tricky. Personally my best advice is to go to a running shop and get a good pair of trainers to suit you, go for comfort first, then work from there. Trust me you will thank me later.

3 – Increasing milage too rapidly

So you’ve finally decided to enter your first 10k race, but now it’s getting closer to the event your 3 and 5k training sessions just aren’t going to cut it anymore. A lot of you panic (I myself have fallen victim to this) and jump straight into 10k training. Though doing this you are putting a lot of stress on the body

In the sporting world there is a basic rule stating you shoulder increase your training session or weekly mileage by 10% only. Personally I think this is a good rule to follow making sure you gave yourself adequate recovery time in-between each training session.

4 – Ignoring any little niggles or twinges

The majority of us will have little niggles and twinges from time to time especially when starting out running and it’s important to understand that REST is not always the answer. Although for a lot of injuries this will help in the first instance; when you get back out running the injury will more than likely re-occur and get progressively worse. This is because there is usually a reason for the injury occurring in the first place; whether it be bad running technique, a muscle imbalance of even an incorrect training program. This is why it is important to get any niggles of twinges checked out as soon as you feel them occur in order to prevent them from advancing into a more serious injury.

5 – Neglecting strength training 

So you’re doing everything by the book; wearing the correct footwear, warming up and cooling down before each session, increasing your running distance and speed slowly and giving your body enough time to recover in-between, yet your still getting little niggles and twinges. Why? Well it’s rather simple, you need to incorporate some strength training into your program. This is because if your muscles are weak more often than not they can’t take the demands we put on our bodies when running.  Don’t panic, strength training doesn’t always have to mean lifting heavy weights, in fact using your own body weight is one of the best forms strength training you can do. Exercises such as calve raises, Nordic curls and bridges are excellent to incorporate into your training. As an added bonus you will also find that strength training not only helps with injury prevention it can also contribute to your overall running performance.

So to conclude: Make sure you warm up and cool down after a running session, get yourself a pair of good running trainers, increase your mileage at a steady pace giving your body enough time to recover, get any niggles of twinges checked out, incorporate some form of strength training into your program and most importantly ENJOY YOURSELF.

Thanks Josie Grieve.
Sports Therapist

Mugshot Josie

Josie Grieve (MSST)


Josie works out of the Yarm clinic every Tuesday. To book an appointment you can easily book online here.

Overground vs Treadmill Running

We often use treadmill running for gait analysis. It is a big thing at the moment with most running and and sports stores offering some form of “gait analysis”, some more in-depth than others. For a good blog post on “in store” gait analysis take a look at Matt Phillips blog Why Gait Analysis Won’t Help You Find The Right Shoe.  But (and it’s a big but) how many of us run exclusively run on treadmills? How many of us don’t run on treadmills at all?  If we don’t run on treadmills, but we buy trainers based on a treadmill running assessment, is it the same as running overground?

Treadmill vs Astroturf

There are several factors that could be considered if we ask the question: is it the same? We could be talking about the aerobic capacity or the biomechanics, or the physiological demands of the type of running.  Briefly, Bassett et al. (1985) found that the aerobic requirements of treadmill running versus overground running on a level and inclined surface were not statistically different.  For the purpose of shoe selection or of gait analysis for running technique and style we are more interested in the biomechanics, or more specifically the kinematics (the study of movement from a geometrical point of view), of a persons running style.

The catalyst for me writing this post is the image above, which comes from a gait analysis session with a patient of mine (permission to use the images in this post has kindly been given by the patient).  Before we get going I should point out a few important points:

  • In both scenarios the patient was instructed to run at their “steady run pace”.
  • On the treadmill they were given chance to acclimatise to their preferred pace.
  • They were also used to running on treadmills and performed a mix of treadmill and outdoor running during their training.
  • The gait analysis was not in relation to a particular injury, more from a running economy and performance perspective.

 You can see if we just look at the foot strike (point at which the foot contacts the running surface), the two images are quite different. On the left we can see that the foot lands fairly flat, on its outside edge, whilst on the right the foot lands on the heel in a straighter position.  Not so easy to see in the image, but which was evident in the video, is that the step width is much narrower on the left compared with the right. Nigg et al. (1995) made a kinematic comparison of overground versus treadmill running and found that subjects adapted their landing style on a treadmill so that the foot landed in more of a flat position than in overground running, which is what we see here.  Nigg et al. also found that most of the other variables studied showed an inconsistent pattern based on a individuals athletes landing style, running speed and “shoe/treadmill situation”.

Treadmill vs Astro midstance

But what about the rest of the body? It is important to look above the foot during gait analysis, so who does this individuals running form vary between the two scenarios? We can see that the shoulders and hips are level with the treadmill running, whilst there is a contralateral (opposite) hip drop with the overground running. What was also visible in the video comparison was the amount of sided-to-side head movement was reduced during treadmill running compared to overground running.  This may be due to the constraints of the treadmill leading to a tighter/more uniform control on running form and stride rate (Lindsay et al., 2014).

So what does all this mean?

Well it tells that the running on a treadmill is not the same as running overground. Also that if you are someone who predominantly or exclusively runs overground, treadmill gait analysis is possibly not a true reflection of your running form.  In terms of shoe selection Nigg et al. summarise things quite nicely:

“…individual assessment of running kinematics on a treadmill for shoe or orthotic assessment may possibly lead to inadequate conclusions about overground running.”

My view is that gait analysis is still a useful tool, it can help to see how you run, which is quite often different to how you think you run! But if I have a patient how predominantly runs overground and not on a treadmill, this is how I like to see them run and vice versa.  With regards to shoe selection, use the time on the treadmill to see how the shoe feels, really just ask yourself: Is it comfortable?  If it is then that is a good start.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Ed

Over Reaching or Over Training?

Its that time of year, with the Spring Marathon season just around the corner, when lots of people up their running volume and intensity in an effort to reach the training goals on their training plan.  Sometimes this can lead over training (OT) and injury.  But what (apart from the obvious) is overtraining? How do we define it? Recognise it? Manage it? In this post I aim to provide some kind of definition, differentiate between over reaching and over training and provide some info on how to manage the two conditions.

Over Reaching Vs Over Training? Non Functional Over-Reaching (NFOR) can be defined as:

“When athletes do not sufficiently respect the balance between training and recovery”

Meeusen et al. (2006)

And is different, although not easily distinguishable from over training.  The defining characteristic of which, is an reduction in the ability to perform at established levels, which may persist for weeks or months (Matos et al., 2011).  By the way these two terms are different to the regular “overload” we do in our training to get adaptations and improvements in our physical fitness.  The main difference between the two conditions appears to be recovery time. Recovery for NFOR can be measured from days to a couple of weeks, whereas OT can take weeks to months to recover from.

Who is affected?

NFOR and OT can affect both endurance and non-endurance athletes (Matos et al., 2011), but measuring the exact incidence of rates can be difficult due to the difficulty establishing set characteristics and measurable markers.  The range of the incidence of OT varies greatly, dependant on whether the measurements were over a single training season (21% in swimmers) or a whole career (60% in elite runners). It is more like to be more common in elite athletes, with high training volumes and intensities.

Signs and Symptoms of NFOR & OT

This can be split into 3 main areas: Physical, Psychological, Psychosocial.

Physical

  • The defining characteristic is a reduction in the ability to perform at established levels.
  • Reduced sleep disturbances, despite fatigue.
  • Increase in perceived effort during normal training.
  • Increased upper respiratory tract infections. Thought to be due to a depressed immune system secondary to chronic physical and emotional stress.
  • Increased frequency of injuries.
  • Muscle heaviness, during and after training.

Psychological

  • Reduced enjoyment during training.
  • Lack of confidence and feeling intimidated by opponents.
  • Frequent mood changes, especially feeling sad during competition or training.

Psychosocial

    • Multiple stressors from family/own expectations, busy/work school life.
    • Sport is often the most important factor in an athletes life and can often lead to reduced involvement in aspect of an athletes life outside their sport.

image

Possible cycle of psychosocial factors during NFOR & OT

Managing NFOR & OT

      1. Rest and recover – this is the most important aspect of managing NFOR and OT, you must allow the body and mind to recover. Encourage normal sleeping patterns.
      2. Training modification – reduction in volume and intensity and change from single sport/discipline to include cross-training.
      3. Communicate – athletes try to communicate with family, friends and coaches. Coaches and parents communicate with the individual.
      4. Resumption of training should be tailored to the athlete, based on their signs and symptoms and monitored and modified accordingly.

Prevention This can be more difficult than it may first seem. The effects of overtraining can take place of a protracted period and so changes in performance and general health can be quite subtle. Mood state can influence the willingness of the athlete to recognise the symptoms of over-training and thus become worse.  The points below may help:

      • By keeping a training log and note of race results (i.e. for 10k races) it is easier to identify patterns before they develop into problems.
      • Ensuring that you are getting adequate sleep and recovery. Plan this into your training week and make rest days exactly that.
      • If you compete in one individual sport (i.e. swimming or running) try and introduce some cross training into your week.
      • Keep your training varied and fun (that should be the main reason why we exercise after all)

This was a bit of a long post for me, but I hope you’ve found it useful. Feel free to leave a comment/feedback (but probably best to not comment about my lack of artistic ability!).

Best wishes

Ed

References:
MATOS, N. F., R. J. WINSLEY, and C. A. WILLIAMS. (2011) Prevalence of Nonfunctional Overreaching/Overtraining in Young English Athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise, 43:7, 1287–1294.
MEEUSEN, R., DUCLOS, M., GLEESON, M., REITJENS, G., STEINACKER, J. and URHAUSEN, A. (2006). Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome. European Journal of Sports Science 6:1, 1-14.

How Are You Running?

The spring marathon season is just around the corner and those planning running a marathon should really be starting to think about your training and preparation. Yes it seems like its ages away, but as the saying goes “it soon comes round” (is that even a saying? I’m not too sure). Now is the ideal time to take stock of your training and look at making any changes you deem useful.

One aspect you may want to look at is the way you run. The vast majority of us learn to run not long after we learn to walk and from that point on think very little about how we run and why it might be important in terms of both performance and injury prevention. There is an emerging body of evidence that would suggest modification of an individuals running technique (gait re-training) and cadence can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. There are certain injuries, which appear to correlate with a particular running style or pattern, for example cross-over gait could, possibly be linked with ITB syndrome. A study of 15 runners, by Meardon et al. (2012) found an increase in ITB strain rate as step width decreased (Reference).  By looking at the whole body it is possible to look for patterns of movement, which may effect running style or performance, for example the action of the arms and amount of rotation in the upper body correlates with the leg swing and counter rotation in the lower body and vice versa.

Blog Post 1

Some aspects of an individuals running form can be picked up just by watching them run, whereas other are more subtle, happen quicker and therefore difficult to pick up with the naked eye. This is where video gait analysis comes in. Here I do not mean the knee down, focussing on the foot landing, gait analysis you get in sports shops. I am talking about a whole body top-to-toe video analysis that looks at not only what happens at the feet, but also the knees, hips and upper body. It is only by looking at the whole body that you can get a true reflection of an individuals running style and therefore make adjustments to suit them as an individual.

However, to go back to my previous point about marathon training, if you are going to make adjustments to your running, it takes time for the new movement patterns to develop and to break old habits. Running drills and cues need to be accompanied by the correct strength and conditioning exercises and mobility work, which again need to be developed for the individual. The autumn winter seasons are the perfect time to start looking at your running style and making any changes required.

It is not about pigeon holing you into a category, it is about finding the right style of running for you!

If you would like further information about video gait analysis service provided at Ed Pratt Sports Therapy, please click here.

Happy running.

Ed

30 Days of What?

Squat PicFrame

This post relates to the 30 Day Challenges that keep popping up in my Facebook feed, for example 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Press-up Challenge, Plank, Squat thrust etc. etc.  Its not the 30 days I have a problem with or the challenge part it’s doing just one exercise for 30 days (and yes I am aware that there are challenges involving multiple exercises), why would you want to do this? Is it for the mental challenge and fighting the boredom of the same exercise day in, day out for 30 days? Add some variation, I am bored at the thought of planking for 5 minutes! As a test of muscular strength-endurance, 2 minutes would demonstrate this.  It is important to note that gyms are not for everyone, so finding time and a suitable form of exercise is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I would question how healthy it is to do just one exercise for 30 days.

However my main issue is the lack of instruction that comes with the challenges, quite often just a list of “Day + Reps”.  Again, I am aware that those responsible for the photo may provide some instructional information on how to complete the exercises, but this is not evident when the image crops up on Facebook.  In my opinion the high volume of reps, a desire to complete that days challenge and the boredom factor would encourage participants to “go through the motions” and lead to poor form.  So, starting with the squat, I am going to post some instructional information on some of the exercises included in these challenges. Whilst I do have concerns over these types of challenges it is great to see more people taking an interest in exercise and that’s where social networks like Facebook can be really valuable. Taking exercise has so many health benefits and so the positive from the challenges has to be more people thinking and talking about their health.  But I really  want to ensure everyone exercises safely and to get the right results.

Just to mention again it is not the 30 Day Challenges that I have a problem with, I am currently in the middle of one myself (http://www.kinetic-revolution.com/30daychallenge/welcome-to-the-challenge/).  However, this challenge is aimed at strength training for runners, multiple exercises are used and expert instruction is provided.

I would love to get your feedback on these challenges – has anyone completed them? Has anyone been injured through doing the same exercise over and over? What benefits did you get from it?

Thanks for reading.

Ed

Harewood House 10K – Lessons Learnt

So yesterday I ran my first trail race of the season in the picturesque grounds of Harewood House…eventually.

Harewood House 10k

Harewood House 10k

 

 

After being picked up on time we were sound mired in a mix of poor SatNav directions, poor SatNav reading (due to my travel sickness) and heavy traffic.  As a result we parked up at 09:55 with the race due to start at 10:00! We quickly shoved or trail shoes on and tried to pin out race numbers on, without stabbing ourselves in our rush and ran to find my brothers (and a loo!). Fortunately for us the race start had been delayed and the mass warm-up was still going on.  At the race start we were a bit slow getting lined up which meant we were fairly far back in a field including “joggers and walkers.  I never enter a race to “jog” round, I am there to run, however slow I might be!  So from the start we had a lot of work to do just to get into our running stride, in fact I think it took me until the 5th kilometre to find a bit of space on the fairly narrow, slippy, muddy footpaths.

Once I got into my stride, I loved the race.  I recently attended a Kinetic Revolution course on running analysis and gait re-education and used this run to put some of what I’d learnt into practice.  So below I have written a few personal lessons that I picked up from yesterdays race and the course.

  1. Be prepared – so obvious I know, but the race number should have been on before leaving the house, the SatNav set up and at least we should have looked at a map!
  2. Don’t eat so much for breakfast – I had porridge and a fruit smoothie, one or the other would have done. I often run 10K first thing on a morning without anything to eat, I get round fine and have breakfast when I get back. Yesterday combined with the travel sickness, I felt heavy and a bit sluggish before the race.
  3. Better a bit early than late – We even discussed in the car that if we had missed the start we would just run the course anyway.
  4. Push for position at the start of the race – Not one person overtook me yesterday, which shows how far back I must have been! A better start position would have enabled me to get into my running quicker, without all the sidestepping and getting stuck behind slower runners, which would have resulted in a faster time.
  5. Use the downhills – its a knack that I constantly work at. Find a bit of space and let yourself go, use a higher cadence, arms for balance and enjoy the free speed!
  6. On the uphills use your bum – Thats what its there for! Use your buttock muscles to push you up the hill.
  7. Unleash your “free speed” – I have nicked this saying off James Dunne from Kinetic Revolution. What I mean is use mental and verbal cues to help maintain your technique over a longer period and run faster.  For me yesterday it was trying to run at a higher cadence, using my flutes and when I was tired I used my arms backswing to keep my legs going.

So how did I do? I finished in a time of 00:49:14, with previous 10k results being around the 00:48:50 mark and all on road. So very pleased really, but left wondering what I might have achieved had I prepared better, certainly I would like to think that it would have been a good P.B.