Click & Book Online Now

Call us now: 023 8025 3317

6 Great Rehab Exercises For Runners

Posted on 14th November 2018 by

How much movement control do you have when you’re running? And why does it matter? 

There’s a really quick little test you can do to quickly screen stability and control in your leg – just take a look at the video below.

If it looks familiar to you, give the 6 great exercises demonstrated by Sports & Rehabilitation Therapist, Tom, a go.

Why is it important to have good movement control if you’re a runner? 

Many runners lack some crucial areas of control in the key leg muscle groups. Given the repetitive nature of running, often over great distances and with demands of endurance, lack of muscle control can put you at risk of picking up many common overuse injuries.

You can easily do all these exercises at home with a few simple pieces of equipment such as resistive band and a small step.

If you’d like more help or support, we offer a specialised Running Rehab service.

The aim of Running Rehabilitation is to help you:

  • Identify any potential issues with your running style, technique or training schedule.
  • Reduce risk of running related injuries.
  • Improve your running enjoyment and performance.

It’s a completely customised service, focused on you and your running to help you get the most benefit and enjoyment and a long term love for running!

Being pro-active about preventing injuries for runners is well worth the investment! When you’ve seen hundreds of frustrated runners who can’t run because of an injury, the disappointment is awful. So, investing some time doing a few simple exercises like those above is well worth it.

Other related pages that may be of interest to you

Running Injuries – The Basics

Achilles tendon injuries

Runners Knee – Patellofemoral Pain

Common Triathlon Injuries

Plantar Fasciitis

Running Rehab at goPhysio


Runners! When injury strikes, what do you do? We’d like to find out more!

Posted on 27th April 2018 by

Running project goPhysio

TAKE THE SURVEY HERE!

We work with hundreds of runners, from couch to 5k enthusiasts just starting out their running journey to ultra marathon runners. We more often than not see them to help, when pain or injury has impacted on what they love to do – run! However, we know that so many runners who are injured seek other sources of help to get them back running after an injury.

Are you a runner who’s been injured in the last year or so? If so, goPhysio are interested to hear more about your experiences and what matters most to you. Many runners ask a fellow runner for injury advice, take a ‘wait and see approach’ or do their own research online with mixed results. goPhysio are interested in finding out more about your frustrations and successes when an injury gets in the way of your love of running.

So, if you have 5 minutes to spare, please click on this link to tell us more about your experiences.

Many thanks.

SaveSave

SaveSave


The London Marathon 2018 – Reflections As A Spectator

Posted on 23rd April 2018 by

WOW! What an experience it was, going to London to watch my Sister Helen, in her first London Marathon yesterday! I’m still buzzing from the energy and excitement of the day.

The London Marathon is one of the biggest and most popular mass participation events in the world! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the day. Given that I like to be prepared, I did a fair bit of research so that we would see Helen at a few points, whilst keeping our travel efficient and manageable. Here’s how our day panned out!

Setting Off

We were traveling up from Winchester & Southampton, so decided to park at Westfield, where day charges are pretty reasonable, there are good tube links and we were the right side of London for getting home at the end of the day. It was an early (7am) start, so we could make sure we got parked and allowed enough time for traveling to our first viewing point.

Stop 1

From Westfield, we took the Central Line from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank. And from Bank we took the DLR (thankfully the industrial action strike was called off) to the Cutty Sark. We had originally planned to get off at Greenwich DLR, which on reflection I think we should have done, as the Cutty Sark station and area was very busy – but it worked out OK.

London Marathon Mile 6From the Cutty Sark DLR station we walked past the Cutty Sark, through the University of Greenwich gardens, to Romney Road – directly opposite the National Maritime Museum. This point was just after Mile 6. We arrived there in ample time, by around 10am. At this point we had great, unobstructed views of the route. We were right near a drinks station for the Elite men. Referring to the really handy Pace Guide (from the Marathon website) we timed our arrival so that we’d see the Elite men pass, which they did at around 10.28am.

It was amazing watching these athletes speed past us – great to see and it really got the crowds going, ready for the masses.

The masses started coming through 10 or 15 minutes later. Such a sight! The cheering and encouragement was infectious and we were soon carried away, calling out the names on the shirts of passing runners, ‘high fiving’ those on our side and clapping away! The heat really was intense and some runners were already struggling at mile 6.

The Marathon App was fantastic. You could enter the race numbers of those you wanted to see and track their location real time – this was absolutely invaluable. With so many runners, it was difficult to spot people, so if you knew to expect them coming, you were much less likely to miss them.

We also made some flags and had them on extendable flag poles (a fantastic find – light and collapsed down to fit in my bag!). Just bought plain flags from eBay and used iron on transfer paper for our personal message – very cheap and effective!

Having the flags meant our runner could easily spot us in amongst the spectators. We had also told Helen where to expect to see us and she wrote the miles on her arm, so she had a quick reference to refer to so she’d know when to look out. These 2 things she said really helped – without the flags, it would have been very hard for her to have seen us.

So, our plans all worked out and we were beyond excited to see Helen run towards us still looking fresh and full of energy at Mile 6. A quick passing high 5 and some encouraging cheers, and she was on her way!

 London Marathon Mile 6 spectators  London Marathon Mile 6 Runner Jesus at Marathon Cutty Sark Marathon Greenwich Marathon

Stop 2

And so were we! From here, we walked back through the University Gardens, past the Cutty Sark and went under the Thames via the Greenwich foot tunnel to the Isle of Dogs. There was a very short wait to access the tunnel but it was very well managed. It was only open 1 way, so you couldn’t have accessed it to get the other direction.

From the other side of the Thames, we made our way through Millwall Park up to East Ferry Road (near the Mudchute DLR). This took us about half an hour or so.

We found a great spot to watch just after Mile 17. There were lots of grassy banks to rest on and have some much needed refreshments. Again the app was fab, as we could see exactly when to look out for Helen.

At Mile 17 she was still looking amazing – lots of smiles and full of energy!

As we left this point and walked up towards mile 18, there were lots of runners walking and stopping at the side of the road. Not sure if people hit a bit of a wall at this point, but we definitely saw some struggling.

Our plan from here was to walk up to Westferry DLR Station and see Mile 20 but we realised this was unrealistic and so we amended our plans.

Stop 3

Instead we walked to Canary Wharf DLR station. It took a while to get over the footbridge to Canary Wharf, so this slowed us down quite a bit (it may have been easier to try and get on the DLR at Crossharbour or South Quay). From Canary Wharf, we took the Jubilee line toLondon Waterloo. This tube was BUSY (and hot & sweaty, nice!). The driver advised the passengers that it was unlikely they were going to stop at Westminster due to congestion, so advised people to get off at Waterloo. We’d already hear it wasn’t advised to try and access the end via Westminster, so had already planned to get off at Waterloo – which was a wise move.

From Waterloo, we headed straight to Waterloo Bridge (again avoiding Westminster Bridge). Tracking Helen on the app, it was a race against time as she was running along Victoria Embankment towards the bridge as we were in the bridge! So, we literally had to run to see her! We successfully spotted her between miles 24 and 25 as she ran under the bridge – with a great view from the bridge.

Had we known that timing would have been so tight, we would have tried to move faster from our previous stop. We would then have had time to get down to Victoria Embankment to see her from the ground.

The End

From Waterloo Bridge, we walked up towards Trafalgar Square, up The Mall and under Admiralty Arch to the meeting point. Meeting points were labelled according to finishers surname. They weren’t easy to find given the sheer volume of people, but the official helpers were great at pointing us in the right direction. Checking the app, we could see that she’d finished and should be on her way.

4 hours 10 minutes – brilliant! 

We spotted Helen walking to the meeting point and it was congratulatory hugs and celebrations all round! She was full of smiles and had an amazing run.

It was pretty overwhelming seeing all these runners celebrating their achievements with their medals proudly hung round their necks, wearing their finishers T Shirts. We even saw a marriage proposal!

 

From here we all headed for a much needed cool drink and finally made our way home.

This spectator route certainly needed some level of fitness! We clocked up over 20,000 steps and covered almost 15km! But we certainly couldn’t complain about our sore feet & legs having witnessed the extremes the runners pushed themselves to!

This plan was based on timing for a 4 hour marathon, so could obviously be adjusted accordingly for different times.

Alternative Plan

Our alternative (less ambitious plan or had the DLR strike gone ahead) was to have travelled from Westfield to Tower Hill and watched at Mile 13/14 The Highway and then again at Mile 22 The Highway. Some of Helen’s other supporters chose this option, which worked really well. The added bonus of this for the runner was that they saw some familiar faces at 4 points during the race, which was a real motivator!

Top Tips

Having reflected on the day and our plans, it all worked out great! Here are our top tips!

  • Take plenty of food and drink. The schedule was pretty tight and everywhere was so busy, that there wasn’t much time for stopping off for refreshments. We did find an Asda at Mile 17, but the lunch time food selection was already sold out by the time we got there, so we had to be creative!
  • Download the app to track your runners – absolutely invaluable.
  • Take some flags or similar accessory and make your runner(s) aware of it. It will really help them find you amongst the crowds.
  • Get the runners to write on their arm which miles to expect to see you. This will really help motivate them and remind them to look out for you.
  • Prepare for the weather adequately! On reflection, we needed sun hats, sun screen and flip flops given the unprecedented heat this year. However, we could have just as likely needed rain coats & hoodies – it’s a long day out in the open, so do bring the right clothing.
  • If you want to go for something to eat and/or drink after the event, think about booking somewhere. Everywhere is, unsurprisingly, extremely busy. Make sure you allow enough time to get there from your meeting point too, the crowds definitely slow everything down!
  • Have fun – it really is a fantastic day!

More Info

  • You can sponsor Helen (who ran for Sense) here.
  • Read Helen’s marathon blog here.

#SpiritOfLondon #VirginLondonMarathon

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Top 10K Recovery Tips from goPhysio

Posted on 16th March 2018 by

Well done! You’ve completed your 10k race! If you’re a 10k regular, you may have learnt the bast way to tackle post race recovery. But for some, it may be your first 10k event. What you do after an event can really help or hinder your recovery and set you on the right path for continuing your running journey!

Not sure what is best to do to help your recovery. Well don’t worry, here are goPhysio’s top tips for your recovery:

  1. Cool Down – you cross the finish line and the last thing you want to do is keep moving, but a gentle jog or walk will help to steadily slow down your heart rate and allow the build up of waste products in the muscles to be flushed out.
  2. Hydration – Keeping hydrated is essential to allow the muscle to stay elastic and malleable; after all your muscle are made up of up to 70% water.
  3. Refuel – within 30 mins of your race it is important to refuel with a small meal high in carbohydrates and protein. This will help to prevent the onset of muscle soreness as this is the optimal time that the body will use the carbohydrates to rebuild glycogen stores.
  4. Rest– after you have celebrated running your 1st,5th,15th 10km race, get an early night. Sleep is when our body heals, so it is important to give your body the best chance of healing those sore muscles and giving you the best recovery.
  5. Active Recovery – The day after your 10k race try to get your body moving, go for a walk, swim, cycle or even a light jog. This will get you heart pumping increasing circulation around the body continuing to flush out any waste products (lactic acid).
  6. Massage – Book yourself a sports massage. You have trained hard and reached your goal of running the 10km so why not treat yourself to a recovery massage the day after the race. This will help relax those tight muscles, increase the blood flow to the muscle and help prevent DOMS. Don’t forget to take advantage of our race day offers, you can get 20% off your sports massage until 30th April.
  7. Listen to your body – if your feeling sore a day or two after your run then try to listen to your body and what it needs. Take your time to get back into your running routine.
  8. Celebrate – you’ve done it, what a great achievement! Be proud of yourself and celebrate what you’ve achieved. Whether it’s your first 10k or one of many, well done from us all at goPhysio!

Alternatives To Foam Rolling

Posted on 7th March 2018 by

Foam rolling or self myo-fascial release, is a great addition to your exercise schedule. It’s a fantastic way to help your body ward of injuries. But there are a number of alternatives to the traditional foam roller, and here’s a few we love!

MB1 Trigger Point Massage Ball 

MB1 MB5 Trigger Point Roller Ball
A great alternative to a foam roller is the MB1 or MB5 ball
  • Great for targeting smaller areas such as feet, calves, hip flexors, piriformis, pecs, shoulders, forearms and the back of the neck.
  • The foam surface allows it to ‘grip’ the areas that need attention whilst the different densities of foam allow it to target deep muscles whilst remaining comfortable.
  • Extremely convenient for travel and portability.
  • Swap the foam roller out for this small, effective myofascial tool!

MB5 Trigger Point Massage Ball

  • This larger massage ball can be applied to muscles in a very similar way to that of a foam roller.
  • Target large muscle groups such as quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors, lats, QL, pecs and the upper back.
  • The layered construction offers varying levels of pressure, making sure you’re hitting the right spots but remaining in a comfortable zone.
TrP Foot roller
Nano Foot Roller

Nano Foot Roller

  • Excellent at relieving tension throughout the forearms or the bottom of the foot, where the size of a foam roller would produce less effective results.
  • The small, portable tool will help channel blood to the right areas and get rid of those aches and pains, as well as give you the ability to treat minor injuries such as plantar fasciitis.
  • Also very useful for acute pain along the bottom of the foot; a frozen water bottle. You get the hardness of a roller with the pain relieving effects of ice.

Massage Stick

  • Great if you don’t enjoy lying on the ground or having to change positions with a foam roller.
  • This massage still allows you to roll large muscle groups with varying degrees of pressure.
  • Applied most frequently to the lower limb, this massage stick is both highly effective and easily transported.
Spikey ball
Spiky balls

Spiky Ball 

  • Very similar to the Trigger Point massage ball, these spiky balls allow for a diverse range of rolling techniques whilst also offering a larger amount of tactile feedback (which helps to wake muscles up).
  • They come in a range of sizes and are a cost effective way to achieve the desired results (although may not last quite as long assume of the more hard wearing alternatives).
  • Apply to the same small areas such as the foot, calves, hip flexors, piriformis, pecs, shoulders, forearms and the back of the neck.

Roller Ball

  • This smooth roller ball features a hand-held base which allows the user to accurately target painful areas and perform soft tissue release with a self-prescribed amount of pressure.

    massage roller
    Omni Massager Rollers
  • Excellent for targeting hard-to-reach spots with a foam roller, this massager can be used on the peroneals, tibalias anterior, quadriceps, hip flexors, groin, glutes, piriformis, lower back muscles, pecs, shoulders, neck and arms.

MB 2 Trigger Point Massage Ball

  • This adjustable massage ball is perfect for finding those sore spots in the neck and back. Use this ball to help with posture and back mobility.
  • When closed the ball targets the muscles attaching directly to the spine. When open it will target the larger muscles of the back.
  • Very small, light and extremely portable.
MB2 Trigger point roller
MB2 Trigger Point Roller

Read more about the art of foam rolling.


We sell a range of these products from our clinic in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire. So if you want to find out more or have a demo, pop in and have a chat!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Runners – We Need Your Help!

Posted on 27th February 2018 by

We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking here. Many thanks.

The Injured Runner Project

SaveSave


Selective Rest – When to rest and when to keep running?

Posted on 6th February 2018 by

“Should I keep running or not?” is a question we get asked a lot by runners here at goPhysio.

There are many factors that can lead to injury from excessive training loads, running technique, poor foot mechanics and muscle imbalances, to name a few. But, whatever the cause of your pain or injury total rest is rarely advocated, as this will, in general, only slow down your progress and can cause many more secondary, longer term issues.

At goPhysio, we prefer the term ‘selective rest’

This means to selectively rest from the aggravating (pain causing) activities. So, if you’ve got an ankle injury and you’re a keen runner, it is usually better to rest from running until you’re recovering but gentle walking and alternative non-aggravating activities such as swimming or cycling to maintain movement and fitness can be really helpful.

Essentially, your body’s tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments and bone) will adapt to the demands you place upon them. When you rest the muscles may tighten and weaken, joints will stiffen and your whole body will also de-condition. The long term effects of complete rest will often prolong injuries, with you suffering unnecessary secondary complications and time off running due to inactivity. We’re designed to move, hence movement and exercise is therapeutic.

So, if you’re feeling the odd niggle or pain when you run, our top tips to help keep you running are:

  • Pain during a run? If you feel pain during your run and it is getting worse throughout your run then stop. Make a mental note of the distance or duration at which the pain started (that becomes the point you’ll use to gauge progress on your next run). Avoid running for the next 48 hours, use ice and anti-inflammatories to help settle any inflammation. Then attempt another run within 2-3 days, running to the point at which you felt your pain on your previous run. If you make it to that point and beyond great, just gently progress your running over the next few weeks, ensuring you don’t progress more than 10% distance or mileage in any one run.
    However, if the pain and distance is the same or worse than you experienced on your previous run, it will be indicative of an overuse injury. So, stop and seek an expert physiotherapy assessment to identify, modify and remove all the predisposing factors, to get you back to running quickly.
  • Rest days are training days If your training/distance has been increasing and you feel your legs are finding it hard to reach your planned distance it may be time to rest to allow your body to recover and repair. This selective rest will allow yourself to continue progressing whilst also preventing injury. Intersperse running with other activities such as swimming, cycling, Pilates, yoga or strength training. These activities will allow your body to recover from the repetitive, high loading forces of running but will still help with your running training in other ways.
  • Listen to your body It’s important to use common sense and listen to your body. We all experience natural aches and pains during running, due to the natural high loading forces of the activity. These symptoms are often one-off red-herrings, that subside within 24hrs. However if the pain is sharp in nature and doesn’t feel quite right, or persist’s for a few runs, it’s your body warning you that something is wrong and you need help.
  • If in doubt, see a specialist By seeing a specialist like a Physiotherapist or graduate Sports Therapist when you have an injury, we’ll be able to reassure you what you should and shouldn’t be doing to help your recovery. We spend a long time with you 1-2-1 to fully understand your problem and answer all your questions. You’ll go away knowing exactly what is wrong with you and exactly how to help it get better. There’s nothing worse than sitting around worrying about what may be wrong and whether you’re doing the right thing. We’ll help alleviate your fears and the result is a speedier recovery, getting back to running pain-free quicker, without the worry of the unknown.

Good Luck & Enjoy your Running!

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.

Top 5 Running Injuries & How to Manage Them

Posted on 29th January 2018 by

The top 5 running injuries. In this blog, I will share with you some insider information built up over a lifetime of clinical practice in the sports injury sector, treating 1,000’s of active patient’s with overuse, lower limb injuries.

I’d like to shed some insider light on the 5 most common running injuries and debunk some myths, helping you understand these injuries better, and give you some guidance on how to prevent and manage them if they do occur.

5 Most Common Running Injuries

The 5 most common running injuries we see here at goPhysio are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendonopathy
  • Calf Tears and trigger points
  • Anterior Knee Pain
  • Gluteal / Piriformis syndrome

Interestingly enough, all these injuries can originate from a similar movement dysfunction.

Starting at the foot with flattened foot arches or over-pronation, there is often a chain of biomechanics events leading up the leg to the trunk. These are nicely illustrated in this diagram. .Biomechanics chain of events

 

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar-fasciitis is a fancy, latin word for inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thickened sheet of fascia (connective tissue) on the sole of the feet, it’s elasticity gives us a spring in our step when walking or running. The cause of plantar-fasciitis is linked to it being on an excessive stretch for prolonged periods of time, when the arches in your foot are too flat. So on push off when walking or running it’s excessively overloaded and stretched and overtime micotrauma, inflammation, pain and injury can result. Read more about plantar fasciitis here.

Achilles Tendonopathy

Flattened foot arches results in an inwards collapse of the heel bone (calcaneum) into which the achilles inserts. Thus with each step the heel bone excessively moves side to side, in a side-to-side whipping type motion of the achilles resulting in a build of force, overuse, microtrauma, inflammation, pain & injury! Read more about achilles tendon injuries here.

Calf Tears & Recurrent Myofascial Trigger Points

Again a similar mechanism to above. Over time, the calf muscles become tense and tight, they tend top hold a long term dull background contraction in an attempt to control the inward collapse of the heel bone. This increased tone is aggravated by running (we take approx 1,000 steps per km, per foot), resulting in tense, tight, overactive and painful muscles, which worsen with running and can become a long term or chronic issue. It feels especially tight after hill sessions, when the calf or achilles is also on stretch. Read more about calf tears here. 

Read more about the treatment of calf tears here.

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain is an umbrella term, used to describe a wide range of injuries causing pain in the front of the knee. Although everyone is unique, in runner’s it is often linked to flattened foot arches and the inward collapse of the heel with it’s knock on effects felt through the whole kinetic chain (as per the diagram above). This inward heel collapse causes the shin bone (tibia) to rotate inwards and the knee will fall inwards, resulting in an asymmetrical build of of forces in structures around the front of the knee and some of the most common running knee injuries, namely; Infra-patellar tendonopathy, Patello-femoral joint map-tracking and Ilio-tibial Band friction syndrome (ITB syndrome). Read more about runners knee here.

Gluteal / Piriformis Syndrome

So, as the heel collapses inwards, we get internal rotation of the legs and hips. Subsequently, the gluteal (buttock) muscles become tense and tight in an attempt to control the inward rotation and movement of the leg and hip. This increased tone over a run (approx 1,000 steps per km, per foot), can result in tense, tight, overactive painful muscles. This often worsens with running and can become long term or chronic, which often results in referred pain travelling down the leg mimicking sciatica. Over my career I’ve even seen patients with this condition that mistakengly have been operated on, (the Surgeon thought it was a disc injury causing the sciatica) when it was merely this “Piriformis syndrome” referring into his leg.

The Solution

With all of these conditions, it’s crucial to understand that……..

the injured structure is actually the victim, the true cause is the uncontrolled movement!

Effective management of such injuries therefore needs to address the following:

From the foot upwards – Fully assessing foot position and biomechanics, looking at incorporating custom orthotics to correct the foot positioning and alignment and control excessive movement and rotation from the foot up the whole lower limb.

From the spine / “core” downwards – This is a crucial and often forgotten element, improving muscle stability and movement control throughout the body. Pilates is great for this.

Reduce inflammation – Ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are an effective way to reduce inflammation in the early stages.

‘Hands-on’ Physio treatments – In the early stages, massage and acupuncture to normalise muscle tone, taping to correct alignment and ultrasound to stimulate natural healing, can all be effective ways to help ease pain and discomfort to help you quickly progress into active recovery.

Selective rest – Means to just rest from the aggravating (pain causing) activities, whilst actively participating in non-aggravating activities such as swimming or cycling to maintain movement and fitness. As we’re designed to move, movement in itself is therapeutic. We can really help guide you on this, as many people think if they have an injury they just need to completely rest.

Running Rehabilitation – Specific exercises, training advice and a return-to-running programme are all crucial to ensure a positive, long term return to running injury free.

Preventing these Injuries

We are our own normal

I want to reassure you that we are all different. We all have biomechanical differences that our bodies cope just fine with, we are our own ‘normal’. So, if you have ‘flattened arches’ but are able to run a marathon with no issues, nothing needs to change! You don’t need to address this ‘just in case’. Pain or injuries, such as those above, often arise when we are demanding too much of our body too soon, without giving it time to adapt to the demands – so in running, increasing distance or speed too quickly, changing the terrain etc. So much of the skill in preventing these injuries comes down to our training technique and running habits, combined with our body’s own ability to adapt.

However, what we often see is that a small biomechanical issue such as those explained above, combined with demanding too much of our body too soon, results in the body complaining with one of these injuries. Runners then get stuck in an injury cycle, where they can’t run without getting pain. By fully understanding and addressing the combination of biomechanical issues and training, this is the most effective way to overcome the injury and continue to enjoy a lifelong love of running!

By Paul Baker MCSP, goPhysio Clinical Director

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Sleep: The Magic Elixir for Runners

Posted on 19th January 2018 by

I’ve just recently read a great book, titled Why We Sleep, by the neuroscientist, Matthew Waker. Why we sleep

I wanted to share a summary of the relevant sections, which I thought would be enlightening and useful for you keen, active, health conscious runners. If it sparks your interest, I would thoroughly recommend getting hold of a copy to read it in full. It really is fascinating!

Walker explains that:

“Sleep is one of the most important aspects of life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in 21st century society”

For the active runner, adequate sleep is crucial to help in learning new motor skills, improving athletic performance and mitigating injury risk!

In the book, Walker explains that the term ‘muscle memory’ is a misnomer, muscles have no such memory, and that in fact ‘muscle memory’ is really ‘brain memory’. As humans, we learn new motor skills and movement routines through practice. For a runner it could be working on running technique, training or strengthening muscles in the gym, which can help us better execute a skilled memory routine (running). But the routine itself – the memory programme resides firmly and exclusively within the brain.

Research over the past 20 years has unequivocally demonstrated that after practicing any motor skill, your brain will continue to improve skill memories in the absence of further practice after a full night sleep. Walker concludes that in fact

“Practice does not make perfect, it is practice followed by a nights sleep that leads to perfection”

Sleep helps the brain automate the movement routines – helping them become second nature and effortless – precisely the goal of many sports coaches when perfecting the skills of their athletes.

The 100-metre sprinter superstar Usain Bolt has, on many occasions taken naps in the hours before breaking the world record and before Olympic finals in which he won gold. The author’s studies support this wisdom: day time naps that contain sufficient numbers of sleep spindles also offer significant motor skill memory improvement, together with a restoring benefit on perceived energy and reduced muscle fatigue.

“Sleep is one of the most sophisticated, potent and powerful – not to mention legal – performance enhancer’s everyone should be using fully”

The book’s findings are backed up with more than 750 scientific studies that have investigated the relationship between sleep and human performance. Anything less than 8 hours of sleep a night and especially less than 6 hours a night and the following can be experienced:

  • Time to physical exhaustion drops by 10 to 30%
  • Aerobic output is significantly reduced
  • Similar impairments are observed in power output, measured by limb extension force & vertical jump height
  • Decrease in peak and sustained muscle strength.
  • Marked impairments in cardio-vascular, metabolic and respiratory capabilities linked to a decrease in the amount of air the lungs can expire
  • The ability of the body to cool itself during physical exertion through sweating, a critical part of peak performance, is impaired

Injury Risk 

There is also a significant increase in the risk of injury with a lack of sleep.

“There is no better insurance policy to mitigate the risk of injury than sleep!”

Described in a research study of competitive young athlete’s in 2014, Walker explains that a chronic lack of sleep across a season predicted a massively higher risk of injury, as illustrated on the graph below.

 

Sleep and injury risk
Sleep after sporting performance is just as crucial for recovery. The book states that

“Post performance sleep accelerates physical recovery from common inflammation, stimulates muscle repair, and helps restock cellular energy in the form of glucose and glycogen”

What does all this mean for the local fun runner?

Regardless of running ability, sleep is equally important for anyone who is physically active. Until recently the experts thought that adequate sleep, good nutrition and exercise were the 3 fundamentals on which to live a healthy life.

However, through a large body of research over the last 20 years, Walker has highlighted that adequate sleep is the foundation on which being healthy and exercising effectively is built upon.

In other words….without adequate sleep you will not gain the full potential benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise. So, you should be aiming for between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, especially in the midst of a running training programme, to allow your body to recover and achieve the full benefits of training.

For further information, please read Why We Sleep, by Mathew Walker

The Injured Runner Project
We are trying to find out more about what injured runners do to get back to pain-free running, and would love to hear from you! If you’re interested in helping us out, please take a few moments to answer a couple of questions by clicking on this image. Many thanks.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


How to Foam Roll – The Art of Self-Myofascial Release

Posted on 12th January 2018 by

Here’s a quick, no nonsense guide for runners to help improve your warm-up, performance and prevent injury with some simple foam rolling! It’s all about the fascia!

What is fascia?

Firstly, fascia is a dense connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, joint and organ in the body.

There are 3 types of fascia; superficial, deep and visceral.

  • Superficial fascia lies just beneath the skin.
  • Deep fascia penetrates and surrounds muscle tissue.
  • Visceral fascia helps keep vital organs in place.

Everything in the body is connected through fascia, but some areas are more connected than others, forming thickened sheaths and bands of fascia. These are bundled together, inseparable from the muscle tissue (myo) and it’s accompanying web of connective tissue (fascia), forming a 3D myo-fascial web throughout the body. Think of a 3D spider’s web in the shape of your body & you’re getting close!

When working optimally, this myo-fascial web helps provide support, stability, movement dynamics, force transmission and optimises sporting performance.

Why should runners foam roll?

Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller Foam rolling
We like the Grid Rollers from Trigger Point Therapy
  • For warm-up pre running, as it’s far more effective that static stretching (5)
  • To increase nutrient-rich blood flow to muscles that need it.
  • To improve the mobility and flexibility of muscles and joints (4,6,7).
  • To increase athletic performance (8,9).
  • To recover from exercise faster (1,2,3).
  • To reduce inflammation and remove toxins/chemical waste products.
  • Longer term, to break down adhesions in muscle and connective tissue.
  • You can also successfully self-treat minor injuries such as muscle strains and trigger points.

When should runners foam roll? 

  •  MB1 MB5 Trigger Point Roller Ball
    A great alternative to a foam roller is the MB1 or MB5 ball

    Before exercise: when paired with a dynamic warm up to increase blood flow to areas that may be lacking it.

  • After exercise: used within a cool-down procedure to flush out blood that has pooled in working muscles and to allow fresh nutrients and oxygen in to kick start the recovery process.

Rolling for only a few minutes can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your training session. So, if you’re stuck for time, pre-exercise rolling would provide most benefit.

How to foam roll

Remember this easy guide and apply it to each muscle group that you’re working on.

  • 4 linear rolls (to search the muscle for areas of tightness, we call these ‘hot spots’).
  • 30 second holds on each hot spot.
  • 4 joint movements (to move the muscle underneath the roller).
  1. Underside of the foot (plantar fascia)

TrP Foot roller Foam rolling

  • Place the roller under the sole of the foot.
  • Apply pressure and roll slowly towards the heel and back to the sole of the foot, 4 times.
  • Hold pressure on any hot spots you may find.
  • Once this hot spot starts to reduce, maintain pressure and add in movement of the toes by flexing and extending them all 4 times.
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times.
  1. Calves (gastrocnemius and soleus)TrP Calf Roller
  • Zone A = achilles to mid-calf.
  • Zone B = mid-calf to just below the knee.
  • Roll zone A, followed by zone B.
  • Begin by sitting on the floor with the roller on your Achilles tendon.
  • Place your hands behind you and the other leg on top to add pressure.
  • Roll up and down searching for hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • You can also ‘span’ the muscle by turning your foot inwards and outwards whilst maintaining pressure on a hot spot.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times before moving on to zone B.
  1. Thighs (quadriceps)
  • Zone A = front of the hip to mid-thigh.
  • Zone B = mid-thigh to just above the knee. TrP Quads
  • Roll zone A, followed by zone B.
  • Begin by lying on your front with the roller at the front of your hip just below the bone.
  • Support yourself with your elbows out in front and the other leg bent up to the side.
  • Roll up and down in search of hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • You can also ‘span’ the muscle by turning your foot inwards and outwards whilst maintaining pressure on a hot spot.
  • Now, once on a hot spot, bend and straighten the knee 4 times.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times before moving on to zone B.
  1. Buttock (gluteals and piriformis)
  • Begin by sitting on the roller with your hands behind you for support.
  • Shift your weight onto one side as you bring that leg up and cross it over the other.
  • Aim to have the roller ‘in your back pocket’.TrP Glutes Foam Rolling
  • Roll along the length of your glute in search of hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times.
  1. Upper back (paraspinals, rhomboids, trapezius)
  • Lay on your back with the roller just below the shoulder blades.
  • Place your arms behind your head or cross them in front of your chest.TrP Upper Back Foam Rolling
  • Lift your hips off the floor and use your legs to roll up and down the spine.
  • Carefully extend your back over the roller.
  • Add in side bends to target various muscle groups.
  • Again, if any hot spots are identified, hold this pressure for 30 seconds before moving on.
  1. Chest (pectoralis major/minor)
  • Lay on your front and place the roller (or trigger point ball) just inside the shoulder joint, on the pectoralis tendon. Pec TrP
  • With the arm above the head roll up and down in search of hot spots.
  • If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Add in arm movements to manipulate the soft tissue underneath the roller. 4 straight-arm scoops should do it.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times.
  1. Latissimus Dorsi
  • Lay on your side with one arm above your head for support.
  • Place the roller at a 45° angle just underneath your armpit.Lat Dorsi TrP
  • Shift your weight to roll up and down in search of hot spots.
  • If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Add in straight arm movements to release the tissues further, 4 movements followed by 4 rolls.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times.

References

  1. Pearcey GP, Bradbury-Squires DJ, Kawamoto J, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG, Button DC. Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J Athl Train. 2015;50:5–13.
  2. Macdonald et al. (2014) Macdonald GZ, Button DC, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG. Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2014;46(1):131–142.
  3. Rey E, Padron-Cabo A, Costa PB, Barcala-Furelos R. The effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool in professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;
  4. Bushell JE, Dawson SM, Webster MM. Clinical relevance of foam rolling on hip extension angle in a functional lunge position. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29:2397–403.
  5. Su H, Chang NJ, Wu WL, Guo LY, Chu IH. Acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching during warm-ups on muscular flexibility and strength in young adults. J Sport Rehabil. 2016; 1-24.
  6. Kelly S., Beardsley C. (2016) Specific and cross-over effects of foam rolling on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 11(4), 544-551.
  7. Macdonald GZ, Penney M, Mullaley ME, Cuconato AL, Drake CD, Behm DG, Button DC. An acute bout of self-myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27:812–821.
  8. Peacock CA, Krein DD, Silver TA, Sanders GJ, von Carlowitz KPA. An acute bout of self-myofascial release in the form of foam rolling improves performance testing. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014;7:202-211
  9. Monteiro et al. Acute effects of different self-massage volumes on the FMS overhead deep squat performance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017; 12(1): 94-104.
  10. Monteiro ER Correa Neto VG. Effect of different foam rolling volumes on knee extension fatigue. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(7):1076‐1081.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave