The Derbyshire Sporting Joint is sponsoring the medals for the Ramathon, Derby's half marathon this year on June 5th 2016. To celebrate this, I thought I would collate some of my general tips for those involved. Next month you will hear from our expert biomechanical podiatrist for her footcare tips and ideas. Kate :-)
I don’t want to tell you how to suck eggs… if you’re running a half marathon, it’s unlikely that you’re a complete beginner. I do see some trends with the runners who regularly get injured, so here are some pearls (of alleged wisdom) to help you through your run:
1) Just running will get you injured… a lot. I know you love to run but it’s a bit like saying you want to stay healthy without ever eating any vegetables. You need to do some strength training too. This can be bodyweight stuff, it doesn’t have to be heavily weighted but just running in my opinion actually makes you weaker. Squats, lunges, press ups (your arms are just as important as your legs!), sit ups, calf raises. Simple stuff but if done often and with a number of repetitions that tires you out, will really help your running
2) Core stability exercises are an essential, and sit ups don’t work your core. I’m talking planks, side planks, reverse planks, exercises on the swiss ball. We want to work your stabilisers not your mobilisers, so as good as your six pack can look if you haven’t got those deeper muscles working, then you’re all show and no do! A good place to regularly work on your core is a Pilates class, particularly if it’s a small group one where the instructor gives you lots of (constructive) correction. Yoga can be good too but from my perspective it focusses a lot on stretching, and not everyone needs to increase their mobility.
3) Focus on getting a strong bum: Those glutei muscles are extremely important as they control where your knee faces and to some extent where your foot points, your hip and groin stability, and ensures that your back doesn’t have to work too hard when you’re propelling yourself forward. Exercises that are really good include a single leg bridge, The Clam, Lateral band walks, cable exercises (cable tied around foot, imagine you’re a clock… pulling your leg towards 3 o’ clock, then six o’ clock and even 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock if you want to go the full hog!)
4) Be assessed every time you buy a running shoe: if you aren’t running in your trainers in the shop trying them out, then in my view you can’t be sure they are right. Every new version of the same model of shoe is slightly different so even if last time you bought The Asics Gel Kayanos and they were amazing, the newer version of the same may not be quite right for you. Get assessed properly. Your standing foot posture is different to your walking foot posture and your running foot posture so don’t be fooled into thinking that what you look like standing doing a knee bend is what is happening to your foot when you run.
5) If you have an area of your body that has 6/10 or more pain due to an injury you’re carrying, you’ll probably give yourself a new injury on top of the first one! This is because you will alter the way you run to compensate, and you will start to get aches and pains in other areas. Be smart, get your injuries checked out, and figure out the cause of the pain, not just treating the actual symptoms. That way you’ll be stronger and injury free for longer.
Lead Physiotherapist @ the Derbyshire Sporting Joint