Physio Hub/ Running

15/07/22 - 4 min read

Running Warm-Up

We’ve had a lot of clients coming in to the clinic lately with running-related aches and pains so I wanted to share some simple advice on how to prepare yourself properly for your run. A thorough warm-up for running or jogging is often overlooked but remarkably important for improving performance and decreasing the chance of injury. Whether you are a track specialist or a 5k weekend warrior, the drills in this article will help to promote a more efficient, dynamic running technique, improve range of motion and muscular function, whilst providing the appropriate intensity for your intended training session.

Part 1 – General warm-up exercises

At this stage, you are probably feeling cold, tight, sore and not ready to perform. The aim is to loosen the muscles and joints here and start to warm the body system. The following movements can be incorporated into the general warm-up; the aim here is active preparation.

- Light to Moderate Jog 400m

- Leg Swings – Lunges – Squats

- Grapevine – Side to Side Skip – Backwards Run

Note: Static stretching is not specifically included in the ‘active warm-up’ however if you have any defined areas that require specific stretching in order to improve range of movement (flexibility) e.g. foam rolling a tight calf or glute muscle - this can be added here.

Part 2 – Pre-run drilling So if you want to be confident, strong, steady and pain-free, book your session with us and come chat to our expert physiotherapists and get in the driver's seat of your osteoporosis diagnosis.

The aim at this stage is to improve running efficiency and technique, enhance energy recoil from the ground and to promote a positive running gait (stride). E.g. running on the forefoot. Marching Purpose: Promotes correct leg action and active foot plant Description: Hands on hips – Drive heel to butt – Stomp on forefoot under hips Cues: Front of shoe points in the direction of travel – Heel of shoe pulls up to butt Sets & Reps: 3 sets x 15m

Knee Drives (skips)

Purpose: Promotes recoil (bounce from the ground), switches on key muscles and is an active progression from the marching drill (drill 1) Description: Similar to the march (drill 1) with a skipping action (small air time) included Cues: Skip and actively plant foot back under hips Sets & Reps: 3 sets x 15m

Butt Flicks

Purpose: Promotes correct leg action in the swing leg – Builds towards running specific action and tempo Description: Running action with heel coming to butt – Slowly transitioning forward Cues: Pretend there is a hurdle in front of each step – Fast leg recovery Sets & Reps: 3 sets x 15m

Part 3 – Running/jogging specific intensity

The final stage of the warm-up should involve working your running efforts towards the intensity required for your specific run or jog. This will be extremely individual depending on the distance and speed of the session. The golden rule here is basic, you must get up to your race or planned session speed prior to competing or participating. For endurance-based athletes, you should take your body close to or above session pace for a short duration. It takes time for your body to start delivering oxygen to your muscles at its most efficient rate, thus it’s important to prime the system by ramping up intensity to the desired level. This will improve the start of your session substantially.

- 2-6 minutes of near lactate threshold (beyond talking pace) running or of a similar rate to the planned session

For track-based athletes, the aim is to take your body to the speed at which you will run the session or competition.

- 4-6 efforts of 60-100m building intensity from 80-100%

- Maintain rest periods of 2-3 minutes between repetitions as the intensity increases

Load Management

Following on from our Episode on how to warm-up properly, it’s time to dive into one of the main issues that leads to an injury for runner’s – load management. Overload is thought to be the main cause of 80% of running injuries (Depending on what study you read)

So how much running is too much?

Over the years I’ve done a lot of running training, competing in Sprint and Olympic distance Triathlons (5km and 10km runs in each, respectively) and I’ve made plenty of mistakes when it comes to over training. Once I was pushing myself by road-running between 8 to 10 km every day in the build up to a race and I developed shin splints that took me a few months to get rid of and ultimately resulted in me having to take a break from the running and miss a summer of competitions. No bueno! I learnt a valuable lesson regarding training intensity, frequency and recovery.

A lot of my clients have taken on new training programs that involve an increase from 2 runs a week to 4-5 runs a week. That is a huge jump and the human body requires a really solid base for that much running, something that most of us training up to our first 10km or Half Marathon of the season just don’t have! It’s easy to get excited by our weight loss goals or race times, but it is usually this sudden spike in training that results in a visit to the Physio Hub. Often it is a change in footwear or terrain too, but we’ll talk about this later.

Here are some more common errors with running training that can lead to injury:

- Returning to running after time off from an injury

- Returning back to training after a month or two of holiday

- Increasing intensity following a couple of weeks of illness where loads were reduced (shorter, less intense runs)

- Sudden changes in training goals or race distances

- A change in training surface, terrain (hills), intensity (e.g. intervals) or footwear

- The weekend warrior – someone who typically doesn’t do a lot during the week but goes all out in the weekend!

You may be thinking – so how do I structure my training program to get the best results and not overload myself?

Here’s a few ideas:

1. The 10% rule

The 10% rule is simply not increasing your weekly training loads by more than 10% from one week to the next. It is a very simple and often effective way to ensure that your loads are not increased too quickly. You need to consider what your baseline loads are, what surfaces you are normally training on (hills, grass, road etc), and the intensity of your training, as they will affect your overall training load and therefore injury and burn-out risk. BUILD SLOWLY!

2. Periodisation

Periodisation is used to structure training programs which involves planning a few weeks or months in advance. I know right, its time to get organised! Periodisation is often based around an end goal for example a certain distance or time that you would like to achieve. You also need to keep an eye on your overall well-being as your mood, energy and sleep quality are vital to your success. Your physiotherapist or coach will likely throw ‘easy’ or ‘recovery’ weeks in between challenging ones.

3. Consistency is key. Put on those shoes year round and stay active! If you slack off and miss a few weeks of training – be wise and start slowly again.

4. We are all different and hence, different training programs work best for different athletes because our capacity to adapt to mechanical stress is unique. Don’t just start a random 10km or half marathon training program that you found online – check in with a professional coach or a physiotherapist first who can tailor a training program specifically to you!

At Physio Hub we offer one on one running programs, strength and conditioning and physiotherapy for running related injuries. If you would like more information, or just need some reassurance with your current program please reach out. I’ll be continuing this series with more episodes on recovery, strength and conditioning and footwear. Contact us at [email protected] or on 015253440