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Warming Up For Running – “Do I really need to?”

Posted on 8th January 2018 by

So, you’re ready for your next run. But before you set off, let’s consider the importance of a proper warm up.

If you’re an early morning runner and you’ve been led in bed all night, you’ll need to loosen up. Likewise, if you’ve been sat at work all day, you’ll need to prepare those joints and muscles for the physical activity that you’re about to put them through. Even if you have a physical job, getting yourself ready to run will not only improve your running performance, but it will help keep you free from injuries and increase your recovery rate.

So, warming up for a run is definitely important! But what’s the best way to warm up? 

Foam rolling

Love it or hate it, using a foam roller correctly has been proven to improve performance (1,2) and it’s a great way to prepare your muscles for running. From loosening up fascial adhesions to improving circulation, myofascial release with foam rolling is quick and effective and shouldn’t be left out of any warm up routine.

Using a foam roller (or a ball), stick to these six areas for the best whole-body release:

  1. Feet
  2. Calves
  3. Quadriceps
  4. Tensor fascia lata/TFL (hip flexor at the front of your hip)
  5. Lats (run from your armpit down the side of your body)
  6. Pectoral (chest).

Spending 60-90 seconds rolling each area will improve blood flow, release tension and will help identify any sore areas that may need some extra attention. If you’re not sure exactly what to do with your from roller or would like to learn how to use it effectively, why not some along to one of our foam roller workshops.

Mobility

How healthy are your joints? Simply moving a joint through its full range of motion will increase lubrication, open capillaries, improve circulation and facilitate coordination. Focus on your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Here are some simple mobility exercises that you might do as part of your warm up.

Ankles: circle in each direction. Point the toes and bring them back towards the shins.

Knees: standing heel kicks to facilitate bending and extending the knees.

Hips: rotate one leg at a time in outward circles, before changing direction. Try to keep the circles as big as possible, as to challenge the full range of motion at the joint. Hold on to something if you’re balance isn’t great.

Lower back: laying on your back, bring both knees to your chest, squeeze and relax. Also try taking your right leg over to the left side with a bent knee to encourage rotation. Repeat on the other side.

Stretching 

Perform a few dynamic stretches after your mobility work. Dynamic means that you are stretching through moment (not holding a stretch).

Great examples of dynamic stretches include:

  • Forward lunge with a torso rotation.
  • Forward lunge with a torso side bend.
  • Bringing alternate knees to the chest and squeezing.
  • Alternating high kicks with a (fairly) straight leg.
  • Hamstring stretches with an arm scoop whilst gently walking forwards.

Try to avoid static stretching before physical activity. Research has shown that it can in fact be detrimental to athletic performance (3,4,5).

Muscle activation

Getting the right muscles firing before your run can help to maintain balance, symmetry and prevent injuries from occurring.

These exercises are fab for activating the muscles you need for running:

  • Calves: heels raises, skipping.
  • Quadriceps: lunges, bodyweight squats, tuck jumps.
  • Hamstrings: heel kicks.
  • Glutes: crab walks, side-to-side shuffles, or backwards shuttle runs.

Running backwards is a great way of activating those big gluteal muscles which continue to work when you turn around and run forwards (just make sure you’re in a hazard-free environment to prevent any unwanted falls).

Having your glutes activated will stabilise your hips, you’ll have greater propulsion when pushing off and your knees will be less inclined to fall in every time you plant your front foot. Not only will this make you a more efficient runner, but it will help prevent hip, knee and ankle overuse injuries from occurring.

So, here’s a summary for a runner’s guide to a quick, efficient warm up:

  • Foam Rolling – Quick six; feet, calves, quadriceps, TFL, lats and pecs.
    60-90 seconds on each, then move on.
  • Mobility Work – Move each joint through its full range of motion. Include ankles, knees, hips, lower back.
  • Dynamic Stretches – Active stretching with movement.
  • Muscle Activation – Calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Backwards running will help with your forward running.

References

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Chatzopoulos D., Galazoulas C., Patikas D., Kotzamanidis C. (2014) Acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on balance, agility, reaction time and movement time. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 13(2), 403-409.
  4. Lowery RP et al. Effects of static stretching on 1-mile uphill run performance. J Strength Cont Res. 2014; 28(1): 161-7.
  5. Costa PB, Ryan ED, Herda TJ, Walter AA, Defreitas JM, Stout JR, Cramer JT. Acute effects of static stretching on peak torque and the hamstrings-to-quadriceps conventional and functional ratios. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013;23:38–45.

Transitioning from Parkrun to 10k

Posted on 1st January 2018 by

Parkrun started back in 2004 when 13 runners got together on a blustery day in Bushy Park, Teddington, UK. It is now an international family of over half a million runners (and Parkruncounting). The Saturday morning 5km is a regular event in many diaries. With the Hendy Eastleigh 10k and many other longer distance running events round the corner, having nailed a 5k, you may have your sights set on more of a challenge!

So, how do you make the leap from 5k?

When you first started running you probably followed a plan and gradually increased the distance and your body adapted to allow you to run 5km quite happily. Now you want to be able to run even further, this may seem daunting at the beginning. So why not go back to basics and follow the same principle you had when training for 5km.

  1. Set yourself a goal for when you want to be able to achieve 10km, maybe book yourself onto a 10km race, like the Hendy Eastleigh 10k, so you have a goal in mind.
  2. Once you have your goal, follow a training plan that gradually increase your distance each week. There are lots of apps that enable you to enter a date and a distance goal and work backwards and formulate a training plan for you. Just make sure it’s realistic, too much too quickly can overload your body and not give it time to adjust, which is a risk for picking up an injury.
  3. Why not join a running club or seek help from a running coach for advice, tips, and tricks to help your transition from 5km to 10km.
  4. Ensure you have varied distance and speed runs within your training. Use hills and interval training too to add different dimensions to your training.
  5. Listen to your body, if increasing the distance is too hard one week, don’t beat yourself up. Do what you can, the training plan is just a guide.
  6. Allow your body to recover, have rest days. If we don’t allow ourselves rest days, the body does not have time to repair and recover from your last run.
  7. Add in some cross training, try Pilates to improve your movement control, strength and stability, giving you a great stretch and recovery session. Why not go for a swim for some cardiovascular training without the stresses and pressures on you body.
  8. If you start to get a reoccurring niggle or injury get it assessed as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse.
  9. Listen to some music, an audio book or podcast whilst you run or run with friends to keep the training fun.
  10. Ensure you cool down, stretch, or foam roll. Try using a trigger point MB5 or MB1 ball, which is a great way to release those tight muscles before and after your runs.

Most important of all is to enjoy your training, monitor your progress and don’t panic if you are slightly behind your training schedule remember that is only a guide to help you progress.

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How To Start Running

Posted on 28th December 2017 by

So, you’ve read about the benefits of running, you’ve got some trainers, where do you start?

It’s the time of year when many people turn their attention to taking up a new activity or setting a new fitness goal, and running is a common one!

Here’s some top tips from our Sports Therapist, Tom.

If you’ve never run before, don’t let fear of the unknown stop you. Make it easy by following these few steps.

  1. Only start running once you have spent at least two weeks (or are already comfortable exercising regularly) walking or doing another form of exercise for about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This will help increase your overall activity in preparation for running.
  2. Begin with walk:runs. By adding short bouts of running in to your regular walks you’ll feel stronger, run further and help stop injuries developing. There are lot’s of apps and programmes out there to guide you on this. Eastleigh Borough Council are also starting a Couch to 5k programme as part of their ‘New Year, New You’ initiative. It starts on 17th January 2018 – find more information here.
  3. A good starting point is adding one minute of running for every four minutes of walking, gradually increasing your running time until you are running for twice the amount of time that you spend walking.
  4. Buy a decent pair of running shoes and replace them every 300-500 miles. Worn out shoes are one of the leading causes of injuries amongst runners. Visit a specialist retailer who can analyse your running technique such as Up & Running, Alton Sports or Alexandra Sports.
  5. Set yourself a goal – time or distance, or an event such as a Parkrun.

Official Health Partners of the Hendy Eastleigh 10k

Posted on 5th December 2017 by

We are excited to announce a fantastic new partnership with the Hendy Eastleigh 10k, as we become theEastleigh 10k goPhysio official Health Partner of the race.

One of the largest 10k road races in the country, the Hendy Eastleigh 10k is to be held on Sunday 18th March 2018. It is set to attract around 2,800 runners  and will celebrate it’s 34th anniversary next year.

Clinical Director of goPhysio Paul Baker said he is delighted to be part of such a fantastic event.

Hendy Eastleigh 10k“We help so many runners here at goPhysio and see first hand how important running is to people. To be involved in this great, local event, and have the opportunity to support so many runners is really exciting!”

With just 3 months to go until the Hendy Eastleigh 10k it is never to late to get your running shoes on and get going!

Still need convincing? Here’s a few reasons from our team why running is such a great form of exercise.

Why it’s great to run!

Running is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise for physical conditioning of the heart and
lungs. Studies have shown that running has huge health benefits and it can help you experience more energy, patience, humour and creativity. It can even make you happier! So, grab your trainers and head out to explore the world of running.

Running improves your health Running is a fantastic way to increase your overall health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol, increase lung function, boost your immune system & lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. running can even fortify your immune system by accelerating the circulation of protective cells.

Running is great for your heart It’s the king of cardio. Running, even 30 minutes or so a few days a week, can help prevent or reduce high blood pressure. According to a landmark study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running is associated with a drastically reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Running makes you happier The rush of chemicals (endorphins) your body experiences after a run can give you a ‘runners high’. Running can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A recent study even found that just 30 minutes of running a week, for three weeks, can boost sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day.

It’s easy and convenient Whatever your schedule, you can always squeeze in a run. Just put on your trainer’s and off you go! You can even run whilst your kids cycle or with a baby in a pushchair, take your dog or run your commute!

It’s a cheap way to exercise No gym membership, joining fees or sneaky add-ons. Just the occasional pair of trainers every 500 miles or so, means running is a cost effective way to exercise regularly.

Running seriously torches calories Running is a great calorie burn. It’s one of the best forms of exercise for losing or maintaining consistent weight. The bonus is that the calorie burn continues after you stop running and regular running boosts this “after-burn”, amplifying the effects even more.

It’s a killer leg workout Your body’s biggest muscles are all in your legs and running benefits them all, it’s a great workout to strengthen these important muscles.

You can do it right now Running is such a natural motion, you don’t need to invest in special In the early stage, depending on your targets, you don’t need lessons like many other sports, as running is such a natural motion, just pop on your trainer’s and away you go.

Running strengthens your joints and bones It’s long been known that running helps increases bone mass, and even helps stem age-related bone loss or osteoporosis. It’s also great news for your knees, as a recent study found runners were half as likely to suffer with knee arthritis compared with walkers.

Running can add years to your life It’s recommended that we do at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times a week. Making sure you meet these recommendations will help you live a long and healthy life!

Running works your core A surprise to some, but running actually works your core too. The rotation in your spine as you run, challenges your core muscles, helping strengthen your spine. Running on uneven surfaces provides an extra challenge.

Running helps mental health We all live in a busy, stressful time. Running provides the opportunity to take some time purely for yourself, away from your phone, emails, colleagues and kids. You can get primitive with running, giving your brain space to recharge. It can help you to unwind and relax. It’s difficult to come back after a run stressed!

Running improves your sleep Feeling tired from exercise improves your ability to fall and stay asleep. Improving the quality of your sleep is now thought to be a fundamental part of your health and wellbeing. It is even thought that running can help cure insomnia!

Running boosts your confidence Running can boost your confidence and self-esteem. By setting and achieving goals, you can help give yourself a greater sense of empowerment that can leave you much happier and improve your overall feeling of wellbeing and mental health.

It’s a world of discovery Explore new parks, hidden tracks, forests, beaches, river paths, the list goes on. You can run anywhere, any time and enjoy the change of seasons and all the elements as you do.

Running boosts your memory Running can stimulate brain growth as it helps stimulate an increase in the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which encourages neural growth.

Running is a great way to socialise Runners, love nothing more than talking to runners about running. There are so many social aspects to running, whether it’s joining a running club, taking part in a Parkrun or training for an event, there’s a lot of support and camaraderie found amongst runners.

There you have it! Many ways in which running can help you become healthier and happier. Every time you run, you’ll improve your resting heart rate, your body will release endorphins, your legs will get stronger and you’ll burn a whole lot of calories. In the end you’ll be happier, fitter and stronger! Remember the key to better health is right under your toes……

So, grab your trainers and head out to explore the world of running. You’ll thank yourself for it!

Eastleigh 10k health partner goPhysio

Enter the Hendy Eastleigh 10k here.


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Get your running back on track!

Posted on 4th August 2017 by

Every year around 80% of runners will develop a running related injury – these are often caused by inefficient techniques, muscle imbalances, poor training habits and incorrect footwear. Here at goPhysio, we want to keep runners running so our expert physiotherapists are here to help!

Our Running Rehab service is designed for runners of all levels so whether you’re starting out with the ‘Couch to 5K’ or you’re a seasoned marathon runner; if you have a niggling injury that is affecting your running we can help. We can also offer training and technique guidance for those that are new to running, returning after a long break or are struggling to get past a certain mileage.

The Running Rehab assessment includes:

  • A detailed history of your injury, training programme and goals
  • Comprehensive lower limb strength and flexibility assessment to look for muscle imbalances
  • Running assessment on a treadmill with slow motion video analysis and feedback
  • Personalised recovery plan which may include strength and conditioning exercises, running drills, training programme or integrated physiotherapy follow up for specific injury management

Common running conditions that we see include:

Should I book Running Rehab or a Physio Appointment? 

If you can still run at least 1km we would recommend the Running Rehab service as your first port of call for the most comprehensive assessment, however if your pain is stopping your running completely its best to start with normal physiotherapy assessment and treatment until the pain settles. All of our services are integrated so there’s no problem transferring between services, in fact that’s the best way to ensure a full recovery.

The slow-motion video allows us to look at your running style from top to toe, and whilst there is no one perfect technique, it does allow us to easily identify subtle movement dysfunctions or imbalances that are hard to perceive at normal speed. These imbalances can often lead to inefficiencies and even injury in a repetitive sport like running. You will be given instant feedback on how to correct your running style with simple cues and running drills. Together with your injury history this helps us develop an individual personalised recovery programme for you to resolve your injury and improve your running performance.

Benefits of Running Rehab 

  • Speeds up recovery from injury
  • Get back to running as soon as possible
  • Confidence to progress running in the knowledge that you are not causing more damage
  • Comprehensive plan to improve running efficiency, performance, strengthen areas of weakness to help prevent future injuries
  • Achieve your running goals!

Read More

Running Rehab Service 

Common Triathlon Injuries

 


Runners – How to maximise your training time!

Posted on 26th June 2017 by

A lot of runners get stuck into a rut of running the same route at the same pace week in, week out. Whilst this is a fine way of maintaining our current fitness level it is not going to be enough to help us run further or faster. Even just adding the miles at our habitual comfortable pace will only lead to modest improvements in our endurance.

To really get the most out of our training we need to add variety. This challenges both our muscles and our energy systems in new ways to increase the rate at which they adapt to our training. Not only that but it has the added psychological bonus of experimenting with new routes and new training regimes to help keep us motivated and reduce risk of injury.

If you’re short on time the great news is that you don’t need to spend hours pounding away on the tarmac to achieve significant changes in your speed and endurance – you’re likely to get more benefit from a 30 minute higher intensity interval session than from a 1.5 hour run, although they both have their place!

There are 4 main types of training every runner should have in their programme:

  • Long slow run (LSR)
  • Tempo run
  • Speed/hill/interval session
  • Cross training

Long slow run

The LSR should be your longest (and slowest!) run of the week, the one which you gradually add miles to. This steady state sub-maximal training helps to build capillary density and increases number of mitochondria in your muscle cells which are an important part of our aerobic energy system. By doing this we increase the endurance and efficiency of both our cardiovascular system and our muscles. It also primes our tendons and bones to increase their stiffness to cope with gradually increases distances.

Tempo run

Tempo pace is described as ‘comfortably hard’. It is the maximum pace that we can sustain for approximately 1 hour. You should not be able to talk in full sentences but also not gasping for air if you are working in tempo zone.

Training in the ‘tempo zone’ means you are working at or just below your lactate threshold i.e. the point where the bodies ability to remove lactate from the blood is overtaken by the amount of lactate being produced.

As lactate levels increase the body begins to feel fatigued. Therefore by training just below our threshold we gradually increase it – this means we delay the onset of fatigue, helping us run further and faster.

Tempo runs should start with a 10 min warm up then aim to run for 20 minutes at the fastest pace you could sustain for 1 hour. As this gets easier you can gradually increase the time in the tempo zone up to 60 minutes.

Speed/hill/interval session

There are thousands of different ways to do interval sessions. These are the work outs that are going to increase your overall speed and power. They need to be short but hard – if you aren’t out of breath at the end you didn’t do it right! Don’t try to add intervals to your long runs, you won’t be able to work maximally and so you won’t get the full benefit. These sessions should last about 30 minutes in total, allowing 5-10 minutes for warm up and some recovery time in the middle. The fitter you are the shorter the recovery periods you’ll need between intervals and the more sets you can add.

Here’s a few ideas:

Intervals

Begin with: 10 min warm up, run 1 min mod-hard effort: 1 min easy jogging x 5
Progress to: 10 min warm up, 1 min max effort with 90 secs recovery x 10

Hill training

Begin with: 10 min warm up, 3 x 30 secs moderate effort uphill, walking back down
Progress to: 5 x 1min hard effort uphill, jogging back down with 30-60secs rest in between sets
Start with smaller hills then progress to steeper ones!

Cross training

Cross training means doing something other than running! This allows ‘active rest’ – working different muscle groups to running which prevents muscle imbalance but also training our running muscles in different ways to allows greater strength adaptations without overloading the tendons and joints.

Low impact options are great so try swimming or cycling for cardio. Pilates helps to build up your core postural muscles, making you more efficient when you run, and resistance training using relatively light weights and high repetitions allows you to strengthen and tone muscles without gaining muscle mass.

If you’ve got a race coming up, like the Winchester Half Marathon, which is particularly hilly, mixing up your training is crucial.

Read More

Running Injuries – The Basic Principles

Running Rehab Service